Sex, drugs, and backpacking

Researchers

  1. Ms Jane Fischer Centre for Drug and Alcohol Studies, Queensland Health.
  2. Ms Judith Dean  Sexual Health and HIV Services, Metro North Health Service District, Queensland Health.
  3. Dr Joseph Debattista Sexual Health and HIV Services, Metro North Health Service District, Queensland Health.
  4. Ms Kate Allen Sexual Health and HIV Services, Metro North Health Service District, Queensland Health.
  5. Ms Soulmaz Rostami Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland.
  6. Mr Anthony Peet  Metro South Health Service District, Queensland Health.

Summary

This pilot study investigates the behaviours of international backpacking travellers, with a focus on their alcohol consumption and risk taking — particularly sexual risk taking-behaviours.

Outcomes

This study found that participants had a very low level of knowledge and understanding of safe alcohol consumption levels, a high rate of unprotected sex, and a high rate of swimming while under the influence of alcohol; however, this altered over time. This change is demonstrated by significant changes in behaviour and knowledge reported 4 weeks later in a second study.

This project has helped clarify the level of risk taking behaviour by international backpackers. It has also demonstrated that backpackers are greatly influenced by health promotion interventions and that these strategies have great potential for attracting interest and effecting behavioural change in relation to alcohol consumption and associated risk-taking behaviours.

This project won the Primary and Community Health Services, Metro North Health Service District, Queensland Health 2010 Staff Excellence Award for Research Excellence.

FARE continues to fund and undertake research that contributes to the knowledge-base about alcohol harms and strategies to reduce them.

This research is used to inform our approach to evidence-based alcohol policy development, ensuring that the solutions we are advocating for are informed by research. FARE’s research is also often quoted by governments, other not-for-profit organisations and researchers in public discussions about alcohol, demonstrating that FARE is seen as a leading source of information.

Join our mailing list

Latest research papers

Alcohol use and harm during COVID-19

This Report provides a snapshot of the recent available data on alcohol use and harm during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, focusing on the period between March – May 2020.