Since 2019 members of the DruGS team have been very busy conducting a series of qualitative projects with South Western Sydney Local Health District Drug Health Services. These projects cover a range of important issues including: stigma in alcohol and other drug service delivery, improving youth outreach and heavy drinking and alcohol-related health issues.
Recently, DruGS team member Dr Renae Fomiatti was invited to present findings from our collaboration on experiences of heavy drinking and serious health issues to health professionals at the South Western Sydney Drug & Alcohol Sector Professional Development and Partnership event, June 3, 2021.
This project explored how men who experience difficulties associated with alcohol consumption give meaning to their consumption, manage and respond to heavy drinking and other concurrent health conditions and view, and make decisions about, accessing treatment for their alcohol consumption.
The presentation focused on the key output from this project – Experiences of heavy drinking and serious health issues, a web module we developed and added to existing website livesofsubstance.org, a site that presents people’s experiences of addiction, dependence or drug habit in their own words. The module aims to expand Livesofsubstance.org’s coverage of alcohol consumption, presenting narratives and themes covering experiences of heavy drinking in the presence of alcohol-related health issues. By sharing personal stories of their experiences, the module aims to give voice to people who continue to drink despite being affected by alcohol-related health issues, and improve understanding among health professionals, friends and family.
DruGS team member Dr Renae Fomiatti comments on the significance of presenting the module at this event:
As with our other websites, Livesofsubstance.org and Overdoselifesavers.org, this web module is intended to be a destigmatising intervention. We hope that it can be used as a resource for health professionals who want to improve their understanding of the difficulties some men face in managing or changing their drinking.
In addition to the web module, the project has also produced a peer-reviewed publication:
Fomiatti, R., Savic, M., Fraser, S., Edwards, M., & Farrugia, A. (2020). Heavy drinking as phenomenon: gender and agency in accounts of men’s heavy drinking. Health Sociology Review, 1-16.