National Study Proves Licenced Premises Get Unfair Wrap due to Anti-Alcohol Sentiment

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A major national study undertaken by Deakin University was just released which provides valuable insight into alcohol related behaviour in the country and attempts to provide some advice on possible measures to overcome alcohol related problems, especially in entertainment districts.

The study interviewed revellers at entertainment districts in Melbourne, Sydney, Geelong and Wollongong and discovered some shocking truths.

The study showed that pre-drinking, mixing energy drinks and alcohol and using illicit drugs before going out were some of the disturbing practices being undertaken by drinkers.

It has been suggested that pre-drinking is one of the biggest concerns because almost two thirds of the people that participated in the survey admitted to drinking before going out and this is one of the biggest contributors to intoxication and alcohol induced harm.

An article on describes the findings of the study and discusses the implications of these findings for government, patrons and members of the alcohol industry.

Read an excerpt from the article below:

Deakin University’s Patron Offending and Intoxication in Night-Time Entertainment Districts (POINTED) study interviewed and breath-tested over 6800 people and conducted over 900 hours observation of visitors to entertainment districts in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Geelong and Wollongong between November 2011 and June 2012.

Its findings are that around one in four of these people had taken illicit drugs before going out, and 65 per cent had engaged in pre-drinking “to save money”.

Speaking to TheShout, POINTED’s lead researcher, Associate Professor Peter Miller, agreed that “licensed premises cop an unfair share of the anti-alcohol sentiment”.

“I’d like to say the responsibility should be joint and that lots of parties should work together on the issue,” said Miller. “But I think the reality is that venues ultimately have to deal with what comes through their doors in the first instance, but should then be able to expect help from others.

“Identifying people who have taken drugs or been pre-drinking can be almost impossible and we need to both acknowledge that, but then do the best we can to minimise the harm it causes for venues and patrons.”

One of the other recommendations made by the lead researchers of the study was earlier closing times for venues, a measure they claim many licensees were happy to agree to if it meant improving safety.

Another recommendation was to increase the price of alcohol through taxation based on volume and alcohol content. Other recommendations include requirements for alcohol companies to pay for health warning TV advertisements directly after the screening of pro-alcohol ads, ceasing the sale of high energy drinks from 10pm, ceasing the sale of alcohol in venues an hour before closing, allocating specific expenditure on measures that alleviate harm and the banning of bulk discount alcohol deals.

If people drink at home before they even arrive at the licenced venue, responsible service of alcohol measures are not going to make much difference unless the person shows visible signs of intoxication in which they must be refused alcohol. Mixing energy drinks with alcohol or consuming the two alternatively throughout the night was also found to contribute to aggression and subsequently violence in entertainment districts.


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