A couple of quiet ones aye?

by Responsible Choice · 0 comments

We’ve all experienced the effects of alcohol on a night out.

Sometimes it really raises the night up to greater heights and we end up having a top night. HOWEVER…

How many of us have seen the effects of alcohol on a bunch of young drinkers? Words that come to me, both from my personal experiences using alcohol and from those effects I have seen on others, include;

– an increase in aggression

– an increase in risk taking and offensive behaviour

– a decrease in tolerance for others and their opinions, particularly unknown and unfamiliar people

– an inexplicable increase in the desire for hot dogs, kebabs and pies.

But that’s just me. We’ve already seen the Australian Institute of Criminology’s (AIC) findings in Alcohol and assault on Friday and Saturday nights: Findings from the DUMA program in my last alcohol related post.

Let’s see what the Australian Police Force has to say about it. We’ll start in NSW hey?

I think Mark Di Stefano of ABC News Australia pretty much summed it up in his article outlining Operation Unite executed earlier this month. In it he says;

More than 250 people have been arrested in New South Wales during the first night of a crackdown on alcohol fuelled violence.

More than 400 charges were laid in the first night of Operation Unite, which also saw 27 people arrested for assaulting or hindering police officers. In one instance last night, a 17-year-old girl lashed out at police when she was told to leave a licensed premises at Bondi. In another, two Irish nationals were charged after brawling outside a pub in Sydney’s CBD. New South Wales Assistant Commissioner, Dennis Clifford, says the assaults to police are particularly worrying. “The most serious of those has been a police officer assaulted during an arrest down the south coast, who received a suspected fractured nose during the arrest of a male and female after the male refused to leave the licensed premises,” he said.

That worries me. Particularly as a father, that REALLY worries me. This next statement from the Police Association of NSW’s (PANSW) acting president Pat Gooley in an article from The Sydney Morning Herald is not much comfort either.

“Operation Unite has proved that our culture of alcohol and violence is out of control, with boozed-up idiots running wild all over the country…”

It worries me firstly because the police are saying alcohol related violence is out of control, and also because we are still looking at the people who are behaving this way as idiots. They aren’t.

ALCOHOL HAS THE POTENTIAL TO TURN THE MEEKEST PERSON INTO A VIOLENT AND OFFENSIVE LOUT. Alcohol as a drug has a number of symptoms of use, increased aggression and inclination towards violence are but a few.

If you won’t take my word for it ask any police officer, ambulance officer or emergency room nurse/doctor. See what they have to say about alcohol and violence. Or we could just go back to the AIC again and check their Key issues in alcohol-related violence report of 2009. It relates the link between alcohol and violence and statistics from the National Drug Strategy household Survey (NDSHS) in 2007, in which;

  • 1 in 4 Australians were a victim of alcohol-related verbal abuse
  • 13 percent were made to feel fearful by someone under the influence of alcohol
  • 4.5 percent of Australians aged 14 years or older had been physically abused by someone under the influence of alcohol

The report also notes that alcohol is involved in a significant number of homicides, violent crime and domestic violence. This is due to;

  • the pharmacological effects of alcohol on the cognitive, affective or behavioural functioning of the drinker which can lead to increased risk-taking, reduced anxiety regarding possible sanctions for their behaviour, heightened emotionality, impulsive behaviour, ‘liquid courage’, a distorted interpretation of events and an inability to resolve incidents verbally
  • individual characteristics including age, gender, personality traits, predisposition to aggression, deviant attitudes and expectations of the drinker about the effects of alcohol and their behaviour while intoxicated
  • effects of the drinking environment including situational factors such as crowding, permissiveness of violent behaviour, the management of licensed premises and the role and behaviour of venue staff (including managers and security)
  • societal attitudes and values, including a culture of drinking to deliberately become intoxicated, using alcohol as an excuse for behaviour not normally condoned and for holding individuals less responsible for their actions

By the way ALCOHOL IS LEGAL! THERE ARE NO PENALTIES FOR PURCHASING OR POSSESSING IT. YOU CAN MAKE IT YOURSELF IF YOU LIKE.

Cannabis is illegal but? That doesn’t make sense to me at all. It doesn’t share any of the negative pharmacological effects of alcohol apart from perhaps a distorted interpretation of events, which many would argue is a positive effect.

Which brings me to this. Ever heard of planking? I’m sure you have now because someone died doing it. A 20 year old.

20. So young.

Which drug was involved in his death?

Can you see? Which drug is the responsible choice? Do we need more examples of this kind of stuff before we reconsider our approach to cannabis in this country. I can almost guarantee that kid would not have died if he had’ve been using cannabis that night. That isn’t a legal option though is it?

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