In many towns in Australia, ‘alcohol fuelled violence’ is so commonly heard, we are now becoming desensitised to reacting to it at an emotional level. Tragically, more shocks are yet to come. Is alcohol related violence ruining your town? In Melbourne, Australia, where I write this, pedestrians are being slashed, knifed, bashed, kicked unconscious and into paraplegia, permanently disabled in other ways and often murdered. Our police commissioner recently stated he was expecting a bodycount of at least one alcohol related, one punch death per month.
Alcohol is a pyschoactive drug. It can change normal human behaviour. Specifically, at or above certain BAC levels, alcohol can act as a disinhibitor. You are more likely to throw a punch at or above a BAC of 08 than below it.
The majority of people involved in alcohol-related violence would generally be classified as, on average, light or moderate drinkers who also occasionally“binge drink”…Alcohol-related violence is a major component of “acute” alcohol-related harm
Stockwell (1998) states that these acute episodes of alcohol-related harm (for example, injuries obtained through violence) are generally caused by occasional excessive drinking (greater than 60 grams of pure alcohol) by young males, often in licenced premises.
Alcohol is implicated in 47% of assaults, 72,302 hospitalisations were attributable to the misuse of alcohol and the financial burden of alcohol misuse to the Australian community alone has been estimated to be $15 billion per year.
Governments showing leadership via setting a pedestrian 08 blood alcohol content limit, have the opportunity of limiting the number of occasions excessive drinking is undertaken, especially in crowded public places where opportunities for violence abound.