Teens become binge-busters

NATURAL RHYTHM: Dancing man Tommy Franklin shared a few of his moves with teenagers at the Cringe the Binge launch in Byron Bay – Full report, Page 3.
NATURAL RHYTHM: Dancing man Tommy Franklin shared a few of his moves with teenagers at the Cringe the Binge launch in Byron Bay – Full report, Page 3. Kate Oneill

BYRON Bay's "dancing man" and ambassador for clean living fun, Tommy Franklin, led an impromptu dance class to wrap things up at the launch of national anti-binge drinking campaign Cringe the Binge in Byron Bay on Friday.

It was a finale that fitted perfectly with Cringe the Binge's goal: to drive home a serious message to young people in their own language and in a non-preachy way.

A series of provocative and funny posters were unveiled at the launch, which use slogans like King Hit in the Cab Queue, Chlamydia and the Burning Bush and The Brain Dead Binge Drinkers, to alert teenagers about alcohol-fuelled violence, sexually transmitted infections and the effects of binge drinking on the developing adolescent brain. The posters are already being circulated on social media and will also appear in gig guides, street press and on T-shirts.

Director of the Byron Youth Service, Di Mahoney, said risky drinking among teenagers was a problem not only in Byron Bay, but across the country.

Nationwide, four young Australians die from alcohol-related injuries each week, she said, adding that a culture that accepted and even encouraged binge drinking was to blame.

"Unfortunately there's an expectation in our community that that's the way to behave.

"We believe we all need to wake up a bit about alcohol and the impact it has," Ms Mahoney said. "We accept that young people are going to drink. We're not anti-alcohol, we're against binge drinking and drinking to get smashed."

Byron Bay's Young Person of the Year, Justin Fenwick, said campaigns aimed at youth were usually too preachy, but the Cringe the Binge posters spoke to young people in their own language.

"They've got it right this time," he said.

Cringe the Binge is holding a National Weekend of Action on November 9-11 and will be asking Australians to think about their alcohol use and donate what they normally spend on it to Cringe the Binge.

The money will be used to support youth and community workers to create grassroots action. Donations of more than $20 will go in a draw to win a weekend in Byron Bay.

See cringethebinge.com.au.



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