Drug and Alcohol intoxication and Subsequent Harm in night-time Entertainment Districts

(DASHED)

Monograph no. 67

Peter Miller, Raimondo Bruno, Anthony Morgan, Richelle Mayshak, Elise Cox, Kerri Coomber, Nicolas Droste, Nicholas Taylor, Nicolette Dimitrovski, Amy Peacock, Hayley Boxall, Isabella Voce

Drug and Alcohol Intoxication and Subsequent Harm in night-time Entertainment Districts (DASHED) investigated the harms associated with alcohol across Canberra and Hobart between April and December 2015. The study used a combination of over 1,600 night-time entertainment precinct (NEP) patron interviews, covert observations in and around licensed establishments, alcohol and substance related ambulance attendances, alcohol-related presentations in emergency departments, recorded alcohol-related offence data from ACT Policing and Tasmania Police, and liquor licence enforcement actions within Tasmania. The project showed: in Canberra, 56 percent of NEP patrons pre-drink before attending licensed venues, 13 percent report using substances other than alcohol (excluding tobacco), 17.4 percent of injury-related ED attendees are males aged 18 to 24, 47 percent of NEP patrons report being involved in any kind of aggression around licensed venues in past three months – 30 per cent verbal aggression, 28 percent unwanted sexual attention and 17 percent physical aggression, 17 percent of NEP patrons have driven under the influence of alcohol, 9 percent under the influence of drugs, and 43 percent of alcohol-related offences are committed between 2am and 6am. In Hobart, 68 percent of patrons pre-drink before attending licensed venues, 19 percent consume energy drinks during a night out, 11 percent report using substances other than alcohol (excluding tobacco), 17.3 percent of injury-related ED attendees are males aged 18 to 24, 49 percent report being involved in any kind of aggression around licensed venues in past three months – 33 per cent verbal aggression, 26 percent unwanted sexual attention and 16 percent physical aggression, and 15 percent have driven under the influence of alcohol, 5 percent under the influence of drugs. Suggested policy directions from the study include: last drinks at all venues set at 2am as a default minimum, a minimum price per standard drink, bans on problem patrons entering entertainment districts, with mandatory ID scanner provisions to ensure bans are put in place, trialling the restricted sale of energy drinks after 10pm, and the introduction of public education campaigns on the risks of mixing alcohol and energy drinks, a public list of venues that are failing to meet licence conditions, a national review of security standards and training in licensed venues, and increased penalties, such as trading hour restrictions or temporary closure, for venues with a high number of assaults.