The Consumption of Alcohol By Aboriginal People
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The consumption of Alcohol by Aboriginal people is an important social issue in modern Australia, and as such this essay will focus on exploring it in relation to current literature.
Marxist argues that the health status of individuals exist because of inequalities in society and the broader influences of society need to be addressed (van Krieken et al. , 2006). Environmental factors in the human environment are known as the social determinants of health and could include education, health behaviours, employment, social integration, socioeconomic and income. (Health and Ageing, 2009). According to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Aboriginals are more disadvantaged compared to non-Indigenous people and socioeconomic factors have been taken into consideration to identify the relationship between alcohol and drug use .
Even thou there have been improvements made to a variety of social determinants, statistics still show that Aboriginals have more obstacles to overcome than the non-Indigenous Australians. (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009). To have a better understanding of the alcohol use among Aboriginals, the historical context needs to be taken into account (van Krieken et al. , 2006). The Aboriginals were exposed to alcohol, preceding the ‘First Fleet’ in 1788 where it’s availability increased remarkably after European contact.
After the settlers had introduced alcohol as an exchange for sex and labour it soon became obvious that alcohol had a negative effect (Saggers and Gray, 1998). Aboriginals used alcohol as a ‘remedy-all’ for their pain and many of them used it as an agent to cope with the fact that they were being ruled by non-indigenous people. In the late 19th century laws were brought about to restrict Aboriginals from accessing alcohol. The laws did little to reduce the alcohol consumption but instead excluded Aboriginals from important social activities (Saggers and Gray, 1998).
Martin and Brady (2004) suggest that out of fear of being captured and rejected, Aboriginals developed patterns of harmful drinking which continues to this day and have a major impact on their health – whilst the non-Indigenous Australians profited from the sale (Department of Health and Ageing, 2009) A history of social determinants such as social exclusion, a legal framework supporting the removal of children from families, removal from country and racism have influenced the health status of Aboriginals.
It was believed that during the colonisation period, Aboriginals were a dying race and a protection policy was implemented. They lost their independence due to this policy which forced them to give up where they lived and how they lived (van Krieken et al. , 2006). After the World War II, a new policy was introduced where Aboriginals were to become one (assimilated) and recognised as part of the Australian population. This included removal of children from their families – which had a disastrous ramifications on Aboriginals way of life and family (van Krieken et al. 2006). In conclusion, we can see that the influence of social factors have had a big impact on the way Aboriginals consume alcohol. As a result the activities and behaviours of Aboriginals need to be seen in it’s historical context and improvements need to be made for the inadequate living arrangement and social state that is being experience by many Aboriginals.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2009) National Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander social survey, 2008.
Retrieved from http://www. abs. gov. au/ausstats/[email protected] nsf/mf/4714. 0? OpenDocument Martin D, Brady M (2004) Human rights, drinking rights? : alcohol policy and Indigenous Australians. Lancet; 364(9441), 1282-3 Department of Health and Ageing. (2009, April 20). Men’s Health Policy Information Paper Executive Summary. Retrieved from www. health. gov. au/internet/main/publishing. nsf/ Content/mhipExecSum-09-mhipExecSum-09-ch2 van Krieken, R. , Habibis, D. , Smith, P. Hutchins, B. , Martin, G. & Maton, K. (2006). Sociology (3rd Ed. ). Sydney, Australia: Pearson Education Saggers S, Gray D (1998) Dealing with alcohol: Indigenous usage in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press ———————– In order to ensure your assessment is correctly identified, the information and declaration below must be copied and pasted on to the title page of each written assessment. You must enter your own details prior to submission.