Rome steps up to ban drinking on the streets at night!

Aug 3, 2017

First it was eating and drinking near famous fountains. Now, Rome has made it clear that drinking is no longer welcome – at least, at night time, during the peak tourist season.

Mayor Virginia Raggi has brought in an order outlawing the sale and consumption of alcohol in public places, effective immediately and ending 31 October. The order covers 14 of the Italian capital’s 15 municipi, or areas.

The order, detailed on the city council’s website, bans the consumption of alcohol outdoors and on public transport from midnight to 7am. A ban on drinking from glass bottles comes in earlier, at 10pm.

Read more on Independent Co UK.

Global Alcohol Policy Conference October 2017!

Aug 3, 2017

The Global Alcohol Policy Conference is coming to Melbourne from Wednesday to Friday Oct 4-6.

Further information and registration details here:

‘It’s not ice’: alcohol the real scourge, say doctors

Aug 2, 2017
  • Adam Gartrell, Sydney Morning Herald

Doctors have criticised state and federal governments over their new drug policy blueprint, accusing them of putting too much emphasis on methamphetamine and not enough on a much more damaging and deadly substance: alcohol.

The Australian Medical Association says the recently released National Drug Strategy – which sets out the official approach to preventing and minimising drug harm over the next 10 years – focuses too much on the so-called ‘‘ice epidemic’’.

Ahead of the Wednesday release of a new AMA position paper on substance abuse and behavioural addictions, Michael Gannon, the president of the doctors’ association, has described the government strategy as disappointing. ‘‘[It] again lists methamphetamine as the highest priority substance for Australia, despite the strategy noting that only 1.4 per cent of Australians over the age of 14 had ever tried the drug,’’ Dr Gannon said. ‘‘The strategy also notes that alcohol is associated with 5000 deaths and more than 150,000 hospitalisations each year – yet the strategy puts it as a lower priority than ice.

‘‘The government must focus on those dependencies and addictions that cause the greatest harm, including alcohol, regardless of whether some substances are more socially acceptable than others,’’ Dr Gannon said.

Dr Gannon is also critical that the updated strategy did not come with any new funding commitments from state or federal governments.

The AMA’s new position statement says substance abuse is widespread across Australia, and dependence and addiction often lead to death or disability in patients – yet support and treatment services are ‘‘severely under-resourced’’. It calls for a ‘‘major change in funding priorities from policing and prosecution of substance users to interventions that avoid or reduce use, promote resilience, and reduce societal harms’’.

Read more on the Sydney Morning Herald.

AMA prescribes lockout laws in Darwin

Jul 31, 2017


THE Territory branch of Australia’s doctors’ union is pushing for late-night lockout laws on Darwin’s Mitchell St, arguing similar laws have cut violence in Sydney’s Kings Cross.

In a submission to the government’s alcohol review, Australian Medical Association NT president Associate Professor Rob Parker said violence on Mitchell St resulted in a “similar pattern of damage” to the pre-lockout laws of Kings Cross.

Opponents of the laws – recently relaxed in New South Wales – say they have simply moved drunken violence away from traditional nightspots and have forced the closure of dozens of once-popular venues.

The AMA’s proposal, if accepted by the alcohol review, would clash with current government policy.

Read more on NT News.

Notorious Sydney nightclub Home racks up string of drug overdoses, police call-outs

Jul 27, 2017

 MARK MORRI, The Daily Telegraph

POLICE were called to an overdose-plagued Sydney nightclub more than 150 times in the past two years — including for 43 drug incidents and 37 assaults.

Activity at Darling Harbour club Home is now so dangerous the venue has even employed its own private paramedics to deal with emergencies inside.

Just a month after six revellers overdosed in a single night at the venue, The Daily Telegraph can reveal the shocking full extent of a police brief on the club.

Medical staff have treated six overdose cases at Home in just a month. Home Nightclub at Cockle Bay has been forced to hire its own paramedic team. The packed dance floor at Home.

“The material provided by police indicates the venue has a history of violent incidents over the past two years,” a document reveals.

The 43 drug incidents include “multiple incidents of patrons apprehended in the venue with large quantities of drugs”. There were also 27 “observations of signs of intoxications”.

Read more on the Daily Telegraph. 

Vancouver follows in Sydney’s footsteps and introduces “Last Entry” lock out laws

Jul 26, 2017

Andrew Ryce – Resident Advisor

Vancouver City Council has introduced Sydney-style lockout bylaws.

The program, called Last Entry, goes into effect on July 1st. It will only affect clubs in the Granville Entertainment District. Bars will be permitted to stay open until 3 AM, but patrons will only be admitted before 2, in an effort to address what the city calls rising rates of crime and violence in the Downtown area.

“The number of police incidents has risen year-over-year and it continues to be a problem,” Vancouver general manager of development Kaye Krishna told the CBC. “What we’re trying to do is thin out the crowds in a more gradual way. When people are all leaving bars at the same time the streets get very crowded… and that’s when many of the fights occur.” Krishna cited the Sydney rules, which banned entry after 1:30 AM, as inspiration for Vancouver’s trial.

Read more on Resident Advisor


Community input on NSW liquor licences to be reviewed

Jun 19, 2017

By Sean Nicholls

The process by which members of the community can have their say on proposals for new liquor licences will be reviewed by the NSW government for the first time in almost a decade.

Racing Minister Paul Toole has announced that Liquor and Gaming NSW has issued a discussion paper on the evaluation of so-called Community Impact Statements and is calling for public submissions by July 26.

A Community Impact Statement is a written summary of the potential harm a liquor licence might have on a neighbourhood. It must contain community stakeholder feedback, such as concerns and support.

The statements are required when applications for a range of liquor licences are made, including for a hotel, club, bottle shop and some small bars.

The statement is posted on the Liquor and Gaming NSW website for 30 days for comment.

The discussion paper asks for feedback on the efficacy of the statements, whether there are “opportunities to cut red tape and minimise delays” and what types of liquor licences should be required to complete them.

It says the results of the evaluation “are expected to inform a broader review seeking to better align the planning and liquor approvals processes”, which is proposed for later in 2017.

“It’s important that those potentially affected by liquor licences have input into the assessment process, whether they be residents, councils, police or others,” Mr Toole said.

“But it’s also important that pubs, bars and other venues can continue to provide options for people who want to socialise and enjoy themselves.”

Article published on The Sydney Morning Herald 

Sydney Morning Herald: ‘Wild night in Coogee’ as brawling teens surround Police

Apr 27, 2017
  • Megan Levy


Police said they were initially called to the park about 11pm to reports that two girls were fighting.

A NSW Police spokeswoman said when the officers from the Eastern Beaches Local Area Command arrived at the park, they found the girls involved in a scuffle.

As the officers attempted to separate the pair, they were allegedly surrounded by a large group of teenagers who began brawling.

The spokeswoman said bottles were thrown at police when they attempted to disperse the crowd. One officer was struck in the head with a bottle and was treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics.

Police called for urgent back-up from neighbouring police commands, and a large number of police cars descended on the area.

One witness said there were “people everywhere” in the park opposite the Coogee Bay Hotel, with “cops and ambulances everywhere”.

Justin Taunton, a Burwood Councillor, was at a friend’s Coogee apartment at the time and said up to 20 police cars were parked along Arden Street just before 12.30am on Tuesday.

Cr Taunton told Fairfax Media that, from the first-floor balcony where he was standing, he could hear someone yell repeatedly: “Who threw that bottle?”. He also saw some people trying to attack police as they were being loaded into a paddy wagon.

Cr Taunton said he had seen “lots of drunk teenagers” wandering the streets of Coogee earlier in the night, and said the disturbance would probably be “wrongly blamed on the pubs”.

“They were only kids,” he said.

“There were lots of kids everywhere, in different groups, wandering all over the place. They were obviously drunk, but they weren’t obviously carrying alcohol around with them.”

Mr Taunton said it was unusual to see so many groups of children wandering around Coogee at night, and wondered whether the gathering had been organised on social media.

A number of cars parked along Arden Street also were damaged during the incident, police said.

Police said the three males were arrested and taken to Maroubra Police Station.

On Tuesday morning, the 14-year-old boy was charged with malicious damage and breaching bail. He was refused bail to appear at a children’s court on Tuesday.

The 16-year-old boy was charged with resisting arrest, offensive behaviour and failing to comply with police direction. He was refused bail to appear at a children’s court on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old man was charged with resisting an officer in the execution of duty, and assaulting police in the execution of duty. The man was granted conditional bail to appear at Waverley Local Court on May 31.

Story originally in the Sydney Morning Herald

FARE: Harmed, drunk and dangerous: Aussies link alcohol to family and domestic violence

Apr 27, 2017

A staggering majority (92%) of Australians believe alcohol is linked to family and domestic violence.

That finding mirrors Australians’ attitudes to alcohol more broadly, with new polling revealing Aussies are concerned about and impacted by alcohol harm, and they are suspicious and deeply cynical about the alcohol industry.

Now in its eighth year, the ‘Annual alcohol poll 2017: Attitudes and behaviours’ found almost eight in ten (78%) of respondents believe Australia has a problem with excess drinking, and a growing majority (81%) think more should be done to reduce alcohol harm.

Each year the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education’s (FARE) national alcohol poll provides valuable trend data and insights into community perspectives on alcohol.

2017 was the first year in which Australians were asked if they perceived a link between alcohol and family and domestic violence.

FARE Chief Executive Michael Thorn is not surprised by the poll’s findings, but says it should act as a wake-up call to governments that have been too slow to take action.

“The evidence showing alcohol’s involvement in family and domestic violence is not in dispute, and for an even longer time we’ve had the anecdotal proof as well. The public, whether witnessing this first-hand or through the media, clearly understands and acknowledges the link, with a majority of those (80%) calling on governments to step up and address the problem,” Mr Thorn said.

Conducted by Galaxy Research, the 2017 poll once again confirms the alcohol industry’s poor reputation.

A minority of Australians say they could trust information provided by the alcohol industry on responsible drinking (40%), drinking during pregnancy (27%), underage drinking (24%) and the health benefits of certain alcohol products (16%).

Mr Thorn says the Australian community has a healthy level of scepticism about the alcohol industry.

“It is no exaggeration to say Aussies are deeply suspicious and justifiably critical when it comes to the alcohol industry. They don’t trust what the industry says and they recognise its poor corporate behaviour. Fifty seven per cent of Australians say the alcohol industry targets people under the age of 18 years, and the majority, 74 per cent of Australians, believe the alcohol industry should pay for reducing the alcohol harm it causes, and rightly so,” Mr Thorn said.

In 2017, Australians reported getting drunk in larger numbers than ever before. The proportion of Australians who drink to get drunk increased to 44 per cent (up from 37% in 2016 and 34% in 2015). Wine remains the country’s alcoholic drink of choice (29%), beating out regular strength beer (21%).

For the first time since 2010, we also asked Australians why they had increased or decreased their consumption of alcohol over the past 12 months.

Peer pressure, stress, and depression led many to drink more, with 30 per cent needing to drink to feel happy or overcome depression, 29 per cent feeling more stressed, and 29 per cent of respondents influenced by the increased alcohol consumption of friends and family.

In contrast, people’s wallets, waistlines and wellness concerns caused many to drink less, with 49 per cent of this group wanting to improve their health, 24 per cent citing weight concerns and 23 per cent stating they could not afford to drink as much as the reason for a decrease in their alcohol consumption.

The 2017 Poll has once again highlighted the extent of alcohol harm in the Australian community.

One third of Australians (35%) indicated they have been affected by alcohol-related violence (up from 29% in 2016), with 48 per cent of these indicating they have been affected by alcohol-related violence in the last 12 months.

One in five (21%) parents with a child under 18 reported that their child has been harmed or put at risk of harm due to someone else’s drinking (consistent with 23% in 2016).

Mr Thorn says this is the serious and very troubling face of the national poll.

“It’s a damning indictment of this country’s toxic relationship with alcohol when we have more than a third of Australians affected by alcohol-related violence. These troubling findings are really a reflection of the extent of alcohol harm in Australia; the 15 lives lost and 430 hospitalisations caused by alcohol every single day,” Mr Thorn said.

In 2017 the poll again looked at the impact of alcohol advertising on children, with 77 per cent of parents reporting their child under the age of 18 has been exposed to alcohol advertising (up from 71% in 2016).

Almost half of parents indicated that their child has been exposed to alcohol advertising at a supermarket or shopping centre (49%), while outside on the street (billboards/posters) (45%), through the radio, television or cinema (43%), or at a licensed venue (restaurant or club) (42%).

More than two thirds (68%) of Australians support placing a ban on alcohol advertising on television before 8.30pm, consistent with 2016 (70%) and a majority of Australians (55%) believe alcohol sponsorship should not be allowed at sporting events (down from 60% in 2016).

Mr Thorn says Australia’s major sporting codes continue to find themselves out of step with community attitudes and expectations when it comes to alcohol advertising and sport.

“It is very clear that on this issue Australians overwhelmingly support booze free sport. Exposure to alcohol advertising is harmful to children, and we will continue to represent the Australian community and fight for an end to alcohol sponsorship in sport,” Mr Thorn said.

View media release in PDF

View the report

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD – Violent Sydney CBD brawl sees teenage woman, two men arrested

Apr 18, 2017

Andrew Taylor

A man has been arrested and charged following a violent brawl in Sydney’s CBD early on Sunday.

Two teenagers – a man and a woman – were also arrested.

Police were called to Pitt Street about 4am, following reports of two assaults, to find more than 20 men and women fighting outside a convenience store.

A fight reportedly began inside the Arthouse Hotel, which left a man unconscious with serious head injuries, Channel Nine reported.

A violent brawl also erupted outside the hotel, with a crowd of up to 40 spilling onto the street.

More than a dozen police attended, using pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

Police said a 19-year-old woman was treated at the scene for the effects of pepper spray and was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital for assessment.

Two men, aged 18 and 29, and a woman, aged 19, were arrested at the scene.

The men were taken to Day Street police station, while the woman was taken to Surry Hills police station.

The teenagers were later released, pending further inquiries.

The 29-year-old man, from South Hurstville, was charged with affray and resisting arrest. He has also been banned from licensed premises in Sydney’s CBD.

The 18-year-old man released by the police said “the other people” had started the fight.

Asked about her injuries, a female companion walking behind him said: “Yeah, I’m all right, but.”

Police said they were continuing their inquiries and were speaking to a number of witnesses.

Seven News reported that police were also investigating whether security guards were involved in the fight.

Originally published in The Sydney Morning Herald