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.


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:


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


    Election news: was on Adelaide Radio with Carol Whitlock – profit over life

    11/11/2010

    I just finished an interview with Carol and listeners. Thanks for that Carol.
    Read the rest of this entry »


    Binge Drinking Primary School Students

    26/10/2010

    Under the headline ‘Girls worse than boys for underage boozing’ a report in the Daily Gazette sums up the tragic situation in the UK where:

    Shocking evidence from charity Alcohol Concern shows nearly a third more girls than boys have been admitted to hospital from Accident and Emergency wards after excessive drinking.

    So normalised is underage drinking in the UK, that the focus of Alcohol Concern is to reduce the amount underage drinkers actually drink, not to actually stop them from drinking:

    As long as alcohol remains as heavily promoted as it currently is, young drinkers will continue to consume far more than they might otherwise, leading to inevitable health harms, wasting ambulance and police time.

    Every possible effort must be made to eliminate any underage drinking.
    A program of random on street breath testing associated with Pedestrian 08 would help identify children risking permanent damage and addiction via alcohol consumption and offer authorities an intervention opportunity prior to these often abused and neglected children needing attention in Accident and Emergency Departments.

    Don Shenker’s reference to Alcohol Marketing shows again what evil consequences Big Liquor advertising, Sport Sponsorship and Facebook/Social Media marketing, has on Big Liquor’s primary school age drinking market.

    Daily Gazette Banner

    Daily Gazette


    Getting soused at work and sold on lower alcohol driving limits

    25/10/2010

    An excellent article by Robert Remington of Canada’s Calgary Herald regarding new penalties in Calgary for driving between .05 and .08.

    Robert says:

    I’ve always questioned suspensions for those in the .05 to .08 warning zone, but now I get it. According to B.C.’s ministry of public safety, drivers in that range are seven times more likely to get in an accident.

    And:

    But any amount of alcohol can create over-confidence, aggression, tiredness and slow reaction time, as my .024 reading after one glass of wine on an empty stomach showed.

    If found with a BAC between .05 and .08, your car is immediately impounded, subject to towing and release fees.

    That seems like an exercise in common sense…

    Robert and the Calgary Herald should look at both streams of thought as they affect or apply to Pedestrian Safety, Violence and Addiction.

    We need to get away from a silo mindset when it comes to alcohol.

    However, a letter from The Pedestrian 08 Campaign was kindly published by the Herald here: The Aussie Way

    Calgary Herald Banner

    Calgary Herald


    Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA) – Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival booze up dangers

    21/10/2010

    ADCA pushed out a Press Release today: Reduce alcohol charged violence during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival

    In it they declared:

    With the Caulfield Cup tomorrow and the Melbourne Cup approaching, the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA) calls for racegoers to recognise the violent consequences that come from excessive drinking.

    And:

    “Every week some 60 Australians die and 1500 are hospitalised due to alcohol-related injuries,” Mr Templeman said. “This shocking statistic should really change unconcerned attitudes toward the excessive consumption of alcohol.”

    But ADCA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), David Templeman called for:

    “With 750 000 people expected to attend this year’s 2010 Spring Racing Carnival, it is hoped that everyone making their way to the tracks this year want to attend to see the horses, rather than to simply get drunk,” Mr Templeman said.

    “Prevent alcohol-related violence by drinking sensibly – let’s eliminate opportunities for alcohol-related harm!”

    All good here David, but, most drinkers have a massive problem getting their minds around the concept of drinking sensibly and responsible consumption of alcohol

    This communication could have be vastly more effective had ADCA and David changed the last mentioned sentence to:

    “Prevent alcohol-related violence by drinking responsibly – staying well below a Blood Alcohol Content of point 08 for non drivers – let’s eliminate opportunities for alcohol-related harm!”

    ADCA should have demanded that:

    1. Racing Authorities ensure all bars have a plentiful supply of Breathalyser machines – for patrons to track their intoxication;
    2. Racing Authorities declare a committment to Pedestrian 08 as a condition of entry to the race courses;
    3. Racing Authorities publish highly visible information posters and handouts educating race goers about BAC levels and the dangers of increasing BAC Levels.
    4. The all visitors agree to Random Breath Testing as a condition of entry. This to ensure a violence and trouble free meeting.

    Last year, ADCA claims that:

    Victorian Spring Racing Carnival directly experienced …  alcohol-fuelled aggression where approximately 30 people were involved in a brawl in the stands after the Caulfield Cup

    You cannot expect to get away with 30 person brawls – if it happens again- for two years in a row! – and not expect to see some serious injuries. Racing Authorities need to take responsibility now, for the behaviours of their drinkers. So many promoters don’t…


    Queenstown United in Violence and Alcohol Reduction

    21/10/2010
    Ann Fowler in Otaga Daily Times

    Ann Fowler in Otaga Daily Times

    Otago Daily Times ran this article today regarding Ann Fowler’s efforts to curb the harms of alcohol in New Zealand.

    Effective regulation was needed to change New Zealand’s harmful drinking culture.

    She proposed the group focus on five policies to solve the national alcohol crisis.

    We need to talk about raising alcohol prices, raising the alcohol purchase age, reducing alcohol accessibility, reducing marketing and advertising and increasing drink-driving counter-measures,”Acting forum chairman Peter Gibson said many points raised could be turned into submissions.

    The Pedestrian 08 Campaign responded with familiar suggestions:

    The Alcohol Reform Bill needs to deal with mass population behaviour change measures.
    Be effective. Present your population with a measure of intoxication that they can readily understand – a BAC number of 0.08. Educate, campaign, test and heavily fine offenders. Most, if not all your alcohol problems will evaporate.

    See the full article by Naeem Alvi for more.


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