Australia:  Can your smartphone help you stop drinking?

Mark Willingham Uncategorized

Australia:  Can your smartphone help you stop drinking?

A social media application to help people curb their drinking is generating big savings for businesses through less absenteeism.

Financial Review

By Andrew Tillett, Political Correspondent

November 13, 2019

AUSTRALIA – As Australians and their livers prepare to endure another festive season, a new study claims an online community aimed at helping people curb their drinking is saving $32 million as workers take fewer days off because of hangovers.

Committed users of the Daybreak smartphone app have also cut their spending on alcohol consumption by an average of $7000 annually, while taxpayers are seeing gains from lower healthcare and law enforcement costs.

All up, Daybreak is generating a 149 per cent return to the Australian economy for every dollar of the Federal Government’s $3 million investment, prompting supporters to lobby Canberra for an increase in funding as an alternative to overstretched rehabilitation services.

The app is the brainchild of former nightclub promoter Chris Raine, whose year off drinking 10 years ago was the catalyst to establish Hello Sunday Morning, an organisation dedicated to changing Australians’ relationship with alcohol.

The app, which the government subsidises by $150 per user, offers one-on-one sessions with health coaches, tips on changing habits and peer support to help people cut back on drinking.

An earlier study by Curtin University researchers found that users who stuck with the app for at least three months reduced their drinking from 37 standard drinks a week to 17.

Economic consultancy Evaluate used that data to produce its report, to be released on Wednesday, that showed the app had reduced absenteeism by $32 million among its 20,000 users.

It also saw users stop spending $53 million on drinks, based on an average price of $7 per standard drink and 20 fewer drinks a week. For users who used the app for at least three months, this annual saving was $7000.

The study, which was funded by the Vodafone Foundation, suggests that users and taxpayers have saved almost $7.5 million from the cost of healthcare, fewer road accidents and less call on police resources for alcohol-related crime.

Advertising mogul and Hello Sunday Morning patron Harold Mitchell urged Canberra to help more Australians access the Daybreak app.

“Daybreak is a cost-effective solution that actually provides returns to the economy. Health Minister Greg Hunt has an exceptional opportunity to scale this so thousands of Australians can get effective and proven help to change their relationship with alcohol,” he said.