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'Grog survey' app trial and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander alcohol addiction

Date posted: 22 June 2016

An application (app) being trialled in South Australia (SA) and Queensland (Qld) could boost efforts to curb alcohol addiction in Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The Grog Survey iPad app allows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to electronically keep track of their alcohol consumption and to submit the information anonymously. If the trial is successful, the app will be made available on iPad and other tablet devices.

The app was designed by University of Sydney, SA's Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (ADAC) and a digital-based agency known as Nest. The collaboration was begun in order to collect accurate and reliable alcohol use data, which may be used to inform policy and community efforts in response to alcohol use.

Scott Wilson from SA's ADAC said that the most reliable data dates back to a National drug strategy household survey in 1994, making it difficult to assess alcohol related problems and the responses to them.

'When they do the big household surveys, they ring people, and so if you don't have a landline for example, you're probably not going to get phoned...If you're transient, or if you're actually one of the people caught up in a cycle of drug and alcohol abuse, you're probably not the one who's going to answer the phone at all,' he said.

Paper surveys can also be problematic where English is not the preferred language. Professor Kate Conigrave from the University of Sydney said that the survey's questionnaire, in English and an Indigenous language (initially Pitjantjatjara), may be the answer.

'We wanted something that was totally confidential and anonymous, that someone could sit there and use the app on their own with the headphones on, and not have to be telling a person about what they're drinking,' she said.

'Our chief goal is to get this app working well... and it'll be a tool that can be used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and by local communities and health services, and indeed it can be used by local clinics, to make it much easier to assess what people are drinking.'

The app will be trialled from July in South Australia's Port Lincoln, Ceduna and Yalata, as well as by the Inala Health Service in Queensland.

Source: ABC News


Last updated: 22 June 2016
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Australia's National Research Centre on AOD Workforce Development National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre National Drug Research Institute