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!



Australian Drug Foundation has No Knowledge of U.S. Navy Success

15/03/2012

In an unbelievable display of ignorance, Last Night, Mr Geoff Munro, Senior Policy Sifter for Australian Drug Foundation, admitted no knowledge of the U.S.Navy’s success in embedding a Pedestrian 08 Like Campaign.  The U.S. Navy program shares with Pedestrian 08: A declared max Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Limit; Breathalyzer Machines (on All Ships); Random Breath Testing (RBT); as well as adding fixed time and place testing. Finally both programs provide consequences for transgressors.

Geoff has a thing about identifying “evidence” for the potential of Pedestrian 08 as the genuine life saving policy that it certainly is. (In this business, “Evidence Based” can be code for “Do nothing because no one else has done it yet” or “I can’t back this because minister xyz says I can’t”)

He has a problem relating the success of Australia’s most successful life saving measure against the many harms committed by Big Liquor – in this case Drunk Driving (DUI) – largely beaten by our famous Motorist Point 05 Campaign. This is the model on which Pedestrian 08 stands.  “No evidence!” declared Geoff. He chooses not to see the success of RBT as used by Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority to detect errant Commercial Pilots.  “No Evidence!” Nor does he know about what happens to Aviation Safety when you withdraw this safety measure. Witness the recent news of a struggling Indian Airline who couldn’t afford to maintain their Random Breath and Drug Testing. This resulted in one pilot caught by other authorities trying to fly his jumbo on a BAC of 0.09! Not to mention a building total of 50 – that’s FIFTY other transgressors on drugs and or alcohol fortuitously caught by other authorities. That would be “No Evidence!” I suppose Geoff! Leading to the biggest news so far reinforcing this model: The recent success and expansion of the U.S. Navy via its Nuclear Powered Submarine Fleet involving a whopping 45% Turnaround – “No, I haven’t heard of it” and 5 mins later: “No evidence”.

The ADF are fundamentally out of the loop on this one. Totally out of the loop. This is a PR machine. That’s it.

Geoff was presiding over a the first forum funded to raise awareness of Victoria’s Secondary Supply laws, along with advice to parents on how to handle children and alcohol.

Geoff and company acknowledged a guess that only ten percent of any audience of parents at any forum would know of the toxic, carcinogenic, teratogenic and addictive nature of alcohol.

Yet, their presentation gave no facts to parents likely to deter them passing on their own habits and addictions onto their children. Eg: Big Liquor Maims Babies (FASD), Big Liquor causes Cancer, Big Liquor sells a toxic substance, Big Liquor promotes addiction, violence etc.

As I stated:”I don’t get it. The parents don’t know the dangers – no one else is going to tell them – and you are working for the government. You don’t warn them so they think it’s a drug with no side effects like they see it on TV? Who is going to tell them!”

Dissembling response only.

It then gets worse! The presentation included a line advising Parents not to supply alcohol to anyone under the age of 15. What a disgrace! A government funded front refusing to outline dangers to parents who may well need the truth about this killing, maiming drug of addiction. Then they move on to advising Parents to supply their child with Underage Drinking.

What is going on at the Australian Drug Foundation?

Geoff also acknowledged not being involved, in any way, in the Northern Territories recent success with Drink Licenses. (The N.T. gained an instant 15% drop in offenses).

It seems governments and authorities don’t look to Geoff’s ADF when ever anything effective needs to be done.


US Navy – Have the guts to do what’s required to succeed. What’s wrong with us?

09/03/2012

As part of their duties, the US Navy and US Marines Senior Officers regularly put those under their command in harms way. They do this as a matter of routine.

Yet they routinely minimize risk – where they see it – and can do something about it!

In short they value life! Can we say the same Australia’s Civilian “Commanders” in jurisdictions such as the city councils of Australia’s Capital Cities and Australia’s State Government Premiers?

Can we say the same for the Governments of the UK and others?

Can we say the same for the leadership of Australia’s Defence Force (ADF)?

USS Virginia

US Nuke Subs have Missiles, Super Computers, Torpedoes and now Breathalyzers!

The US Navy and Marines have evaluated various solutions and found what we discovered decades ago. The most effective behaviour changing process you can invent to beat the scourge of binge drinking-alcohol fueled violence and pedestrian deaths is via Random Breath Testing (BAC Testing).

From the online edition of the Wall Street Journal, first printed on 6th March,  2012, headed Navy, Marines to Start Random Alcohol Tests, by Nathan Hodge, I present these quotes:

The Navy and Marines said Monday they plan to introduce random breath tests of personnel on duty as part of a broader health-and-safety push…

And:

The U.S. military already randomly tests members of all branches for illegal drug use. But resorting to breath tests—which detect blood alcohol levels from a breath sample—represents a first for military personnel.

And:

Some Navy crew members, for instance, will have to take a breath test when reporting aboard a ship for duty and other sailors will be subjected to random inspections.

And as part of their prior testing of RBT methods:

The Navy’s submarine fleet in the Pacific has already experimented with a pilot breath-test program that began in 2009. Officials say that program led to a 45% decrease in alcohol-related incidents, such as arrests for driving [cars!] under the influence.

US Nuke Sub Torpedo Room

US Nuclear Submarine Torpedo Room. Every finger on every button belongs to a sober, drug free serviceman or woman.

We have no immediate feedback on how many Submarine to Submarine collisions were avoided…

Note, in Australia we have a long history of proving the targeted effectiveness of RBT via our motorist targeted Point 05 Campaign which has saved hundreds of lives in the process.

Confusingly, a recent Defense Force Inquiry found that

alcohol use is common among ADF personnel and … there is also a high prevalence of drinking at hazardous levels. …this situation has existed in the ADF for a
considerable time, despite some commendable efforts to comprehensively address it over the years.”

Comment: Commendable Efforts don’t cut it. People, including civilians are regularly dying whilst these “Commendable Efforters” fail to hit a cultural change target.
(Just ask family and friends of victims of HMAS Cerberus – a major cultural trend setter training base in Victoria, Australia.
And:

26.4% of ADF members report consuming alcohol at hazardous or harmful
levels. …risky drinking in the ADF is an important contributor to
alcohol related harm

Comment, a quick read proves where the major attention of the defence force chiefs will be drawn:

…an analysis of the volume of negative television, radio and press
coverage of the ADF and its personnel in relation to alcohol found that in 2010–2011 there
were 2,666 such reports, which reached a cumulative potential audience of 81,159,239 and
had an advertising space rate of $4,445,812. This was a 347% increase from 2009–2010

And paid spin doctors, get typing on your response to a likely Tender:

Any explicit communication strategy can be readily undermined by adverse counter messages
and in this context the Panel advises the ADF to develop an organisation-wide policy on
alcohol industry sponsorship and promotion of ADF people, units, and events that has a
specific intent of reducing alcohol related harm

Comment: ADF personel could use their common sense, review what The US Navy submariners have found, and do what they do, and add more measures.
(ADF: No charge for that advice…)

Meanwhile, in a tale of how hard it is to put across a message of so-called “safe” alcohol consumption,  Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council’s new guidelines are known by only 5% of respondents (source: research conducted by the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research)

Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald.
Note that the “safe” is a relative term. The World Health Organisation long ago found there was no known safe level of drinking.
(Remember that alcohol is toxic, carcinogenic, teratogenic and addictive. It cannot ever be absolutely safe for all users at any recommended level.)

Study author Michael Livingston should consider the idea of adapting Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) findings and translate the size and type of drink recommendations to BAC Levels – Over Time.

The Pedestrian 08 policy includes the mandatory installation of BAC Testing machines (breathalysers), at a set ratio to the number of clients in the venue, so that any alcohol user will have immediate access to a testing machine. Saving yet more motorists from unintentional drunk driving (BAC 0.05) and for “drink-walking” (BAC 0.08). Providing an extra lines of defense for motorists via self-initiated, in venue BAC testing; Police initiated Pedestrian RBT (P-RBT) – picking up those who, with an affected judgement, intend to drive; as well as picking up those offending against new P-RBT limits.

It would be a minor matter of programming to enable the user’s test sample and time entered to give the user instant feedback on how the users current BAC Level fits into the NHMRC guidelines – via the audio-visual capabilities of BAC Testing machines.

An example expression given in both written (Multi-languages) and with an accompanying spoken word may include: “You have a BAC of naught point O 8. You are over this jurisdictions Pedestrian BAC limit. For your own safety and to avoid being fined, please remain in your licensed Liquor Venue for at least another 20 mins. Let your friendly bar staff know. Please re-check your BAC level prior to leaving. Your BAC level indicates an intake well in excess of National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines. Try and avoid any more alcohol intake for 2-3 days. [a short blurb to state the modified, BAC/Time variant of NHMRC guidelines to follow].”*

* It would be good to get feedback on this idea. It gives you an idea of the potential for in venue BAC testing, how a stated BAC law will provoke (in fact guarantee) a general user awareness of their BAC level at all times whilst engaged in use of alcohol. The same Breathalysers / Breathalyzers can serve an educative role for broad liquor consumption guidelines and give specific feedback on where the user’s breath test fit’s them into the practice of the same guidelines.


Alcohol Riddled UK, struggling to find sensible regulation

21/02/2012

With one of the world’s largest problems dealing with alcohol, the UK is struggling to assertively introduce sensible, researched regulations to mitigate against the omnipresent marketing success of Big Liquor.

See this Guardian Link here: Can we afford not to have minimum pricing for alcohol?

Other articles at the Guardian here: Alcohol pricing: a battleground between heath groups and drinks industry

And here: Give people a drinking licence, and take it away if they cause enough damage

The UK appear to be choking on an inability to confront the mega corporations dominating their communities.  There seems to be a reluctance to take on one of the key tactics with this amazingly powerful lobby. This is to call them to account for what they are, what they have done, and what they continue to do.

UK A&E Departments and Ambulance paramedics should be clamoring for random pedestrian breath testing and a pedestrian 08 law.

This is a behaviour changing policy model that works. Comprehensively works.


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.


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