Wising up to a culture of drink

Aug 21, 2017

Catherine Lambert – The Daily Telegraph

A decade ago, 52 per cent of people were drinking to excess when they socialised, but that number has now dropped to 33 per cent, according to a 10-year study commissioned by DrinkWise.

The social change organisation’s ambassador Dr Andrew Rochford said the message about excessive drinking was finally getting through to the community.

“It’s always been difficult to tackle the huge drinking culture in Australia but people are definitely reporting that they’re moving towards a more healthy relationship with alcohol,” Dr Rochford said.

“It’s really no longer regarded as cool because there is a greater shift towards pursuing a healthy lifestyle among young people in particular.

“They’re more conscious and thoughtful about their choices.”

The research also found 20 per cent of Australians abstain from alcohol altogether, compared to only 11 per cent in 2007. And where and what we are drinking has changed as well, with 63 per cent of people choosing to drink at home while enjoying a meal or barbecue rather than going out.

Matthew Hughes, 29, said his priorities have now changed and weekends are a precious chance to exercise and enjoy the outdoors.

“I don’t want to wake up on a Sunday morning on a lounge feeling sorry for myself and unhealthy,” Mr Hughes said.

“I want to wake up during the week feeling fresh so I only ever have a couple of drinks and on the weekend I’m in the gym or out running.

“As I see my friends less because I’m building my career, I want to maximise the times I have with them by talking and enjoying their company.”

Rachel Cox, 24, said her social life is more about attending yoga and pilates classes with friends followed by a healthy breakfast. She said: “I love my healthy, active lifestyle and maximising the days when I’m away from work so I’ll only ever have one or two glasses of wine at a wine bar or a friend’s house.”

Dr Rochford said “it has a flow-on effect’’, adding: “At least there’s a trend towards understanding the impact drinking has on our health.”

Originally published by Catherine Lambert on The Daily Telegraph. 

Northern Territory to take tougher approach on problem drinkers

Aug 18, 2017

The unacceptable levels of alcohol-fuelled violence in the Northern Territory has triggered a tougher approach to problem drinkers who are causing trouble in the community.

“Once the legislation passes, anyone who wants to buy takeaway alcohol in the Territory will have to supply a licence or evidence of age card to be scanned before they’re permitted to proceed with their purchase.”

Read more on ABC Online. 

England to tackle alcohol fuelled crime in Norwich

Aug 7, 2017

Dan Grimmer – Eastern Daily Press

A drive to tackle alcohol-fuelled crime and the harm too much drinking does to the health of people in Norwich is to be stepped up next month.

Amid concern that the number people drinking high-strength beers and ciders on city centre streets, a string of organisations are to join forces to help deal with the problems alcohol can cause.

Earlier this year, Norwich was identified by the government as a place which could benefit from help to cut drink-related crime and disorder.

It was named as a Local Action Alcohol Area, with the promise of dedicated help from Home Office and Public Health experts.

And, next month will see the first meeting of the various organisations which will come up with a plan on what can be done.

Read more on Eastern Daily Press. 

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