Telegraph’s Tim Blair floats Pedestrian 08 Policy on line

25/09/2012

And unfortunately doesn’t go into any detail about the four key components of the policy:

  1. All venues to have available, near blood test quality, audio visually capable, BAC Testing Machines for self testing by alcohol users.
  2. A simple, easy to understand limit on where “Responsible Drinking” ends, put into law.
  3. 80% of the program budget spent on educating users about staying under Point 08, and the risks of binge drinking.
  4. 20% of the program budget spent on targeted, on street, pedestrian RBT.

No information given letting readers know that only campaigns with a hard legal edge work! (WHO)

No information about the failure of RSA nor the litany of tragic outcomes from this failure of government policy.

No information about how P-RBT could routinely detect and divert, underage alcohol users, goon baggers – nor how it would clean up Kings Cross, other Sydney and NSW trouble spots, including public transport.

It’s not serious is it? Just an absence of facts about a deadly serious subject.

Meanwhile, Healthland reports this finding:

Exposure to alcohol in utero leads to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in about 40,000 newborns every year in the U.S.

And:

For every one additional drink the mothers consumed between their 43rd and 84th days of pregnancy, their babies had a 16% greater chance of being born smaller than average, which may put them at greater risk for mental and physical problems. Their infants were also more likely to have birth defects, such as a 25% higher risk of a smooth ridge linking the nose and upper lip, a 12% increased risk of an abnormally small head and a 22% greater chance of unusually thin upper lips.

Which would undoubtedly be of great concern to some challenged individuals at this blog


SBS Insight – Misses another opportunity

22/08/2012

SBS Insight have missed another opportunity to lead a discussion about viable answers to our violent binge drinking epidemic.

The show, Punch Drunk found here, and via podcast here, was ably led by Anton Enus and produced a series of harrowing personal stories of violence, maiming and death. All too common in Big Liquor’s Australia.

Many found it shocking – and rightly so. However, viewers would quickly pick up that no guest had anything like a complete overview of the effects of the epidemic, across the range of welfare, medical and police situations – with the possible exception of Dr Crozier.

Nor did any guest have a viable swag of solutions that could directly address even the narrow focus of the show – the violence on our streets.

Pedestrian 08 – the use of a Blood Alcohol Content Maximum enshrined in Law – along with in house Breathalyser Machines; Random Pedestrian Blood Testing; and serious behaviour changing consequences for offenders – wasn’t mentioned. Nor were other policies such as a minimum price per unit of alcohol; returning the minimum age to 21 (in Australia); minimising the number and opening hours and all round availability of alcohol; and the complete ban on alcohol advertising and marketing – especially through sporting coverage.

Effective counter measures – directly impacting the scope of the problem were, on the whole, not mentioned nor discussed. Why?

The latter would not be due to the vast array of promotions for alcohol provided by SBS via advertising and publicity provided via its rampant coverage of liquor addled sports.

Every soccer jumper with a liquor ad, targets the young admirer. Priming them to readily accept alcohol at younger and younger ages. This is a long known observation. Along with the link between younger alcohol users and binge drinking and violence. Can SBS producers not see it?


NY Times Links reports a pedestrian 08 like policy would have avoided Afghan Massacre.

19/03/2012

The truly tragic massacre in Afghanistan has motivated the NY Times to write this:

Nearly every combat outpost in Afghanistan is automatically part of a volatile mix: a hardened enemy, increasingly sophisticated and deadly land mines, nervous young soldiers, powerful weapons and machinery, suicide bombers, the stress of multiple deployments, searing heat, unfriendly locals, unfamiliar languages.

The U.S. Army has concluded that adding alcohol to that mix is unwise.

But now, with the massacre of 16 Afghan civilians, alcohol has been suggested as a possible causal factor in the killings…

And:

The military’s General Order No. 1 prohibits the possession or consumption of alcohol in five countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Still, alcohol finds its way onto bases and outposts, either passed from soldiers from other countries, smuggled in from local markets or delivered in care packages from home. Sometimes the alcohol is disguised as mouthwash — usually gin or vodka doctored with blue-green food coloring.

And:

An assistant secretary of the navy, Juan Garcia, said a pilot Breathalyzer program in submarine units had yielded a 45 percent decrease in “alcohol-related incidents.’’

The Moral of the Story?

Even in heavily disciplined environments, only random breath testing delivers!

Only random breath testing will find the illicit alcohol.

No one in Australia and the UK can point to a single harm minimization program that can instantly produce a 45% decline in Alcohol Harms.

In fact, so out of touch are the Australian Drug Foundation, that Mr Geoff Munro, National Policy Manager, hadn’t even heard of the U.S. Navy’s pioneering success.

And, he admitted he had nothing to do with the Northern Territory’s outstanding success with Drinking Licensing in Chronically Affected areas.

Nothing effective comes from the ADF.

I’ve repeatedly challenged Mr Munro to come up with one policy innovation that the ADF has come up with.

He refuses to believe a projected 5% increase in ethanol consumed, “despite” all the “evidence based” measures supported by Mr Munro.

Come up with it Geoff! All the programs that led to a population wide decrease of 45% of toxic, carcinogenic, teratogenic and addictive alcohol, that you recommended, and you achieved!



1.1 million people random breath tested in 50 days

12/01/2012

The efficiency and effectiveness of random breath testing cannot be doubted.
As part of its summer routine, Victoria Police via their vaunted Booze Bus Teams took control of our roads, barely inconvenienced a safe driver, and RBT’d an astonishing 1.1 million drivers over a 50 day period.
The Melbourne Herald Sun reports this operationOperation Summer Stay – put 2610 over the limit drivers – off the road. They lost their licenses.
How effective is random breath testing as a societal wide, behaviour changing program?
This is the quote that reveals the answer:

Mr Walshe said the drink-driving test rate of one positive per 432 motorists was poor, but an improvement on one in 332 last year.

This means that VicPol had to test 432 motorists to find and remove 1 drunk from the road.
Last year, they had to test 332, to find and remove their one drunk.
This number, by and large, keeps improving.
DUI drivers are being removed from our roads.
We need to keep up this good work and extend the same model of enforcement and behaviour change to our streets. To our entertainment (drinking) districts employing pedestrian random breath testing.
The model is proven! Beyond doubt.
Meanwhile, this humble site, made the big time in the US, featuring on reddit.com, the social media site, upon which a group called “crippling alcoholism” has been created.
This is the discussion.
Warning, the site link above contains a four letter word.
A lot of obviously distressed and unwell people on this site…
I did my best to engage, prior to being – politely – banned from the group.
I don’t wonder why! [Edit: Note: I've recently gone back to the site, and, showing a level of intellectual and cultural cowardice, this site has removed all my contributions with "[deleted]“.  Giving yet another example of why so many drinkers are totally unaware of the toxic, carcinogenic, teratogenic and addictive nature of their recreational drug…]
And thanks to producers and Louise Saunders of the ABC Hobart for the spot this morning on the discussion surrounding drunk driving / dui.
It seems that the idea of mandatory RBT machines in all pubs, thus enabling fewer surprises, better education via the audio visual education facilities these machines can bring, and of course, a totally unambiguous, easy to understand, maximum pedestrian BAC Limit, went down well with the listening public.

Mike


Irresponsible Parents prove need for Pedestrian RBT, Fines, Education and Behaviour Change

02/11/2011



Seven out of 10 under-age drinkers caught in the Cornish holiday resort of Newquay were given alcohol by their parents

BBC Cornwall reports the above, and more:

Most of the teenagers caught drunk and disorderly said they were sent to Cornwall with alcohol [from Parents]…
…although some parents were shocked about their children’s behaviour, others verbally abused officers who confiscated the alcohol…
…one officer was verbally abused by a parent who accused him of stopping her son “having fun”. The teenager was one of four 16-year-olds caught with 64 cans of Special Brew.

The campaign ‘Newquay Safe Partnership’ was formed in 2009 after two teenagers were found at bottom of cliffs in two separate incidents.

There is little doubt that a great percentage of Great Britain’s parents are either unwilling, unable or just too ignorant to responsibly guide their children through the alcohol wars of teenage years.

The Police effort here, is focused on Drunk and Disorderly Offenses.
Is this leaving a problem until it is too late?
Do police have a viable mechanism for the wholesale population wide detection of underage drinking?
Do they consider this, their role as a law and order body?

Where parents fail, the State ‘Nanny’ has to take over.
Pedestrian Random Breath Testing (P-RBT), that includes public transport, allied to heavy fines and heavily publicised educational messages offers the most hope for:

  • Identifying the largest cohort of offenders as quickly and as efficiently as possible; and
  • Changing their behaviour by unambiguously delivering a message about where acceptable behaviour ends

It is Not acceptable for children to fall off cliffs, under trains, and under cars because of Parent Supported Underage Drinking.

Underage drinking is a scourge against the very development of children:


Amy Winehouse dies – another victim of Big Liquor

27/10/2011

Few reports in the media showed any sympathy to the horrible addictions Amy Winehouse suffered.
Who got Amy onto alcohol?
How young was she?
Was it a good idea?
When she purchased her own, were there any warnings about addiction on the bottles?
Were there warnings about cancer on the bottles?
Were there warnings about the toxicity of alcohol – on the bottles?
At clubs, pubs and bars where Amy consumed, were there readily available BAC testing machines, equipped with relevant audio visual messages, displaying a commonsense max BAC level, plus the myriad of health messages needed to responsibly support the serving of alcohol?
Was Amy’s addiction and death due to the saturation marketing campaign for alcohol, which in the UK, amounts to a minimum of (UK)$600 million per year?
Has the UK government done everything it can to minimise the impact and uptake of alcohol?
Has the UK media made money out of the unrelenting ridicule of Amy – whilst taking money for cheap liquor?

Addendum:
The Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs found:

Police found no evidence of illicit drug use in her flat nor were any traces of such drugs found in her body. However, three empty vodka bottles were found next to her bed. Her family believed that she had died of seizure due to alcohol withdrawal. If an alcoholic suddenly stops drinking this can lead to a condition called delirium tremens which can be fatal.


Reaching for responsibility – are we there yet?

17/10/2011

Last Melbourne Cup Day – yes, it is a proclaimed public holiday here – Race Goers crossing Flinders Street from Young & Jackson’s famous bar, were handed a brochure proclaiming a fictitious Point 08 Pedestrian Limit for Race Day and how all Responsible Servers of Alcohol would, quite reasonably, provide an easy mechanism for Users to be able to accurately self test the amount of drug in their system via their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Level.
Many of the Users were already so inebriated – at 10 in the morning – that they:

  1. Took the ‘Limit’ literally [they believed it] :) ;
  2. Confessed that they were already ‘over the limit’;
  3. Look really worried – and plainly paused for thought;
  4. Took the brochure.

A year has gone on and as the Melbourne Age reports (Oct 14, 2011) the Melbourne Race Club has moved to doing something like the above hoax, this time for real:

Race-goers at tomorrow’s Caulfield Cup will be able to see whether they exceed the blood-alcohol level as part of a plan to help prevent the racing carnival turning into tragedy.

Two breath-testing devices were today installed in the members pavilion at Caulfield racecourse to give some of the expected crowd of 40,000 the option of getting an alcohol reading before they got behind the wheel.

It is believed the devices, which charge people $2 for a breath test and are claimed by their manufacturers to be as reliable as the ones police use, have never before been installed for a major metropolitan race meeting.


And the motivation?:

Melbourne Racing Club spokesman Josh Rodder said the innovation was a “good cultural thing” to help people know how much alcohol they had consumed.

“It’s good to have just as a guide, so they’ve got an idea how much they’ve had if they are driving, or if they want to avoid having too much to drink,” Mr Rodder said.


And regular readers can see the holes:

  1. Not enough machines for the massive, massive crowd;
  2. No published pedestrian limit (what’s the guideline for a pedestrian?);
  3. No mention of the behaviour changing mechanism of:
    a) Clearly and simply proclaiming a max legal pedestrian limit;
    b) Advertising and marketing the pedestrian limit;
    c) Modify so called RSA guidelines to include a minimum number of BAC Testing machines, that guarantees immediate testing;
    d) Include point of sale audio visual education messages on the BAC Testing machines;
    e) Providing police for Pedestrian Random Breath Testing (RBT).

This more complete plan of law, education, testing and action would truly ensure “a good cultural thing”.

Avoiding incidents as reported in Herald Sun (Oct 16, 2011):

More than 60 people were thrown out of Caulfield Racecourse and three arrested as police cracked down hard on public drunkenness.

However, one woman had to be helped into a wheelchair by two St John Ambulance paramedics and pushed to a first aid station because she was so drunk.

And a fight between a group of young men had to be broken up by police.


By the way, we had our 10,000 visitor, on these pages recently.
Thanks so much for your interest and support.


Can $450k per year change your eyesight, hearing and policy options?

19/03/2011

Although her police and ambulance officers and A & E staff are getting bashed most nights by the alcohol afflicted, NSW Premier Kristina Keneally recently said “wowsers” to Scott Weber, the NSW Police Union, Ambulance Paramedics and their colleagues, the Doctors, Nurses and Security Staff at our Accident and Emergency Departments.

As Scott rightly pointed out in his Punch Article, Who are you calling a wowser Kristina?:

The facts speak for themselves.

  • Alcohol-related violent incidents are growing by over 6 per cent a year;
    The number of paramedics assaulted a year has increased by over 60 per cent since 2006-07;
  • There were 2,855 assaults against police in NSW;
  • And it’s estimated that 70 per cent of these assaults against police were alcohol-related.
  • But Premier Keneally cannot see these statistics, hear the cries of the victims nor speak ill of the perpetrators – Big Liquor.

    Getting BAC Testing into the survey options list
    An interesting survey at Adelaide Now.

    5.3% doesn’t look much, but, some of our now successful political parties and politicians started with less…

    Democracy Doesn’t Come Cheap!
    New MatildaI suggest you read Norman Thompson’s article on NSW party political funding in New Matilda.

    A Quote for those too busy to click:

    In the past 10 years while Labor has been in power, the AHA and hotels companies have contributed over $4.5 million to the NSW ALP. The Coalition only managed to obtain a little over $2 million during this period.

    Every alcohol dollar given to Labor, Liberals and others in NSW was based on Addiction and or Binge Drinking. That’s the rub. That’s why funding of political parties by the purveyors of addictive substances is so wrought with moral dilemmas. Have no doubt, the money received was based to a large degree on the grief of addicts and their families and the strangers they hit, hurt, killed or injured.

    Obviously, this sort of spending would cause ructions in any association. But as a former AHA President said: “Democracy doesn’t come cheap!”. And here.

    Spending $450 k a year on most things can go a long way to achieving your aims.

    What’s this got to do with Pedestrian 08?

    It’s important to realise the connections between Big Liquor, Advertising, Sponsorship, Media Involvement, Politicians and political parties and the fact that laws and regulations are written to INCREASE binge drinking. Thereby creating a greater need for pedestrian 08.


    Mayor Gives Up!

    25/02/2011

    The Mayor  of Melbourne has given up! See this article here, by Farrah Tomazin, of the Melbourne Age, where he is quoted thus:

    [Mr Doyle] questioned whether there was anything more authorities could do to fix what was ultimately a cultural problem.
    ”We can’t arrest our way out of this,” he said.
    ”It is cultural, and therefore it’s going to take a lot of time to try to fix this.”

    Lord Mayor, Pedestrian 08 is all about effecting cultural change!
    Melbourne’s Herald Sun reckons the increase in street violence amounts to:

    AT least three extra assaults a week happened in Melbourne’s CBD last year compared with 2009.

    Queensland’s Courier Mail (24 Feb) by Xavier La Canna, describes Melbourne’s dilemma thus:
    Police can’t stem Melbourne violence

    THE number of assaults in Melbourne has risen for the seventh straight year despite a police crackdown on violence in the city.

    So after all the funny camera cars, press conferences, photo opportunities, blah blah, 3 more fellow citizens are being assaulted every week.
    The Mayor’s efforts will not stop the once per month, alcohol related, one punch homicides.
    The Mayor’s ongoing failure to give loud and active support any of the known EFFECTIVE counter measures listed elsewhere on this site is disappointing.
    Almost all Melbournians are paying the price for our political leaders constantly running spin over substance with some 85% of Victorians scared of the city after hours.
    Others have paid a heavier price via deaths, injuries, illnesses and traumas associated with Big Liquor’s Binge Drinking violence.


    Big Liquor – killing 2.5 million people per annum

    16/02/2011

    The wrist wringing, the grasping for ineffective, impotent, half-hearted measures by our polling addicted politicians has to end.

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that alcohol is killing 2.5 million people per year.

    Too few countries use effective policy options to prevent death, disease and injury from alcohol use.

    - World Health Organisation

    Millions more are harmed or injured.

    These deaths, these injuries and harms are occurring every year.

    World Health Organisation Report

    In Big Liquor’s nirvana, the Russian Federation, 1 in 5 deaths are due to alcohol.

    Media identities who insist on not aggressively pursuing Liquor companies, politicians and political parties who continuously champion deflecting, ineffective measures and continuously ignore the short list of policies known to be effective ought to hang their heads in shame.

    This is a world wide challenge eclipsing AIDS and tuberculosis.

    Alcohol is the world’s third largest risk factor for disease burden; it is the leading risk factor in the Western Pacific and the Americas and the second largest in Europe.

    It is against your national interest to permit:

    1. The advertising or promotion of alcohol
    2. Sporting sponsorship by Big Liquor
    3. Extended trading hours
    4. Ubiquitous availability of liquor licences
    5. Minimum drinking ages below the age of 21
    6. Not having a set maximum, on street BAC level for pedestrians – especially in built up areas.
    7. The bribing/fund-raising for politicians and media by Big Liquor

    There is a world of difference between prohibition of a drug of addiction and allowing the rampant promotion, advertising and sponsorship by the corporate producers of this toxic, cancer causing drug.

    Controlling alcohol is not, nor has it ever been confused with, prohibition.

    Any self respecting government should pull out all policy options to minimise the consumption of alcohol and therefore minimise the harms of alcohol.

    As the World Health Organisation states:

    no [amount of] drinking is entirely safe.

    - Shekhar Saxena, the director of WHO’s mental health and substance abuse department

    Links:

    The WHO report.

    The Economist Article

    Rasta Livewire


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