Patron offending and intoxication in night-time entertainment districts (POINTED)

25 March 2013

Risky drinking causes considerable community concern in Australia and internationally, particularly when it involves young people consuming alcohol in the night-time economy or NTE (Miller, et al., 2012). In Australia, one in four young people (aged between 15 and 24 years) reported that in the past year they had consumed alcohol, at levels associated with short-term harm, on a weekly to monthly basis. More than 40 percent of young people reported having consumed more than 20 standard drinks on a single occasion during that time (Chikritzhs & Pascal 2004; Victorian Drug and Alcohol Prevention Council 2010). This trend is concerning given that estimates indicate that up to 47 percent of alcohol-related deaths can be attributed to single sessions of heavy episodic drinking (Stockwell et al. 1998).

In 2004–05 the estimated cost of alcohol to the community was $15.6 billion, including crime, violence, treatment costs, loss of productivity and premature deaths (Collins & Lapsley 2008). Alcohol consumption has been shown to increase the likelihood and extent of aggressive and violent behaviours and to reduce an individual’s cognitive and verbal capacity to resolve conflict, thereby increasing the likelihood of involvement in arguments or fights (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2007). Furthermore, alcohol at or more than 0.05 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) significantly increases the potential for fatal car accidents (Drummer et al. 2003). For these reasons, alcohol places a significant burden on emergency services personnel, including police, paramedics and hospital staff.

Research has consistently shown that violence and harm in late-night entertainment areas peaks between midnight and 3 am. It is most frequent on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights (Chikritzhs & Stockwell 2002, 2007; Ireland & Thommeny 1993). A number of issues have been identified that may exacerbate levels of short-term harm associated with risky drinking, including: excessive alcohol consumption at licensed premises, consumption in public areas, and a lack of transport and security in entertainment precincts (Graham & Homel 2008). Factors which increase risky drinking and associated harms in licensed premises include: patron demographics and mix; levels of comfort, boredom and intoxication; promotions encouraging rapid alcohol consumption; and the behaviour of security staff. Violence has also been shown to be associated with poor management and policy, lax police surveillance, lack of transport options for patrons, and inappropriate bureaucratic controls (Graham & Homel 2008; Homel et al. 2004; Hughes 2007).

While previous research has explored the role that factors such as transport, environment and security have on harms associated with heavy episodic drinking, little is known about how consumption practices affect harm. For example, it is not known what levels of BAC are associated with risky behaviour and experience of harm, nor which drinking practices (for example, pre-loading or consuming shots, energy drinks or ‘alcopops’) are associated with increased harm in the night-time environment. Further, it is also not known how duration of drinking episode, intoxication levels upon entering and leaving licensed venues and venue characteristics (ie venue type, venue closing time, venue capacity) impact on experiences of harm.

This study investigated:

 

  • the levels of intoxication of people in and around licensed venues;
  • the types of substances being used by people in and around venues;
  • the relationship between time of evening, duration of drinking episode and level of intoxication and harmful or risky behaviour;
  • the relationship between consuming illicit drugs (or prescription drugs being used illegally); alcohol, and level of intoxication, and harmful or risky behaviour;
  • the relationship between consuming energy drinks, alcohol, and level of intoxication, and harmful or risky behaviour, and
  • jurisdictional differences between alcohol consumption, substance use, energy drink use, levels of intoxication, and harmful or risky behaviour

 

 

Authors: 

A/Prof Peter Miller
School of Psychology, Deakin University
Dr Amy Pennay
Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre
Nicolas Droste
School of Psychology, Deakin University
Dr Rebecca Jenkinson
Burnet Institute
Brendan Quinn
Burnet Institute
Prof Tanya Chikritzhs
National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology
Prof Stephen Tomsen
School of Social Sciences, University of Western Sydney
Phillip Wadds
School of Social Sciences, University of Western Sydney
Prof Sandra C Jones
Centre for Health Initiative, University of Wollongong
A/Prof Darren Palmer
School of Psychology, Deakin University
Lance Barrie
Centre for Health Initiative, University of Wollongong
Dr Tina Lam
National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology
William Gilmore
National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology
Prof Dan I Lubman
Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre and Monash University

 

 

Publication Details

Format: 
Resource Type: 

Cite this document

Suggested Citation

Peter Miller, 2013, Patron offending and intoxication in night-time entertainment districts (POINTED), National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund, Department of Health (Australia), viewed 26 September 2016, <http://apo.org.au/node/33306>.

Page Shares