Photo: Central West Health Acting General Manager Primary Health Care Deirdre Murphy tries on the distortion goggles while holding a couple of the educational wine and champagne glasses indicating the correct volumes of standard drinks.

Central West residents interested in seeing how alcohol can affect them can do so thanks to a

new health service education initiative.

Central West Hospital and Health Service Acting General Manager Primary Health Care Deirdre

Murphy said the Alcohol and Other Drugs Service (AODS) team had invested in some

educational resources for use around the region.

These included wine and beer glasses that showed standard measures for drinks, as well as

distortion goggles that gave people a taste of how their behaviour and judgement could be

affected by alcohol.

“Many people don’t realise that when they go to a pub or restaurant and order, say, a glass of

wine, they are not actually getting what is defined as a standard drink measure. They are

actually getting the equivalent of one and a half measures.

“After a couple of wines, people may think they’ve only had two standard drinks, when they’ve

actually had three.

“So it’s important to know and be familiar with exactly what constitutes a standard drink

measure, which is what these special demonstration glasses are about.

“With the distortion goggles, people can also see how alcohol can affect them.

“For instance, we can go to schools, get students to try the goggles on and then get them to try

some tasks, such as putting a basketball through a hoop, or negotiate an obstacle course, and

see how difficult it can be when you behaviour is affected by drink.’’

Ms Murphy said the educational resources would be used by AODS staff on visits to schools, at

community events and information stalls and could also be used at special presentations.

“Our team would be happy to run education programmes in the community if there are groups

that would interested,’’ she said

Ms Murphy said while alcohol affected each of person differently, regularly drinking to excess

was likely to cause problems in both the short and long-term.

“Alcohol is classed as a depressant, meaning that it slows down vital functions — resulting in

slurred speech, unsteady movement, disturbed perceptions and an inability to react quickly,’’

she said.

“To put it simply, alcohol is a drug that reduces a person’s ability to think rationally and distorts

his or her judgment.

“Excessive alcohol consumption may lead to violence, injury, and unplanned sexual behaviour.

“Alcohol misuse and abuse also can lead to many health problems such as liver and brain

damage, heart and blood vessel illnesses, various cancers and even death through alcohol


Signs that can indicate a person has had too much to drink include:


Loss of balance or co-ordination, swaying or staggering

Confusion, not hearing or responding to others

Bumping into or knocking over furniture

Dozing while sitting at a bar or table

Spilling drinks

Inappropriate sexual advances

Aggression or arguing.

These reactions depend on how much is consumed and how quickly.

Ms Murphy said everyone should think carefully about their level of consumption of alcohol and

consider whether their drinking could be considered risky.

For more information about alcohol and its effects, see: