Drink or drunk: why do staff at licensed premises continue to serve patrons to intoxication despite current laws and interventions?

12 Dec 2011

This paper examines how and why intoxicated persons continue to be able to access more alcohol.

It is well documented that alcohol intoxication is a major contributing factor in incidents of aggression and violence. When factors such as health, policing costs and lost productivity are considered, it is estimated that alcohol costs the Australian economy around $15.3b per annum. Licensed premises are locations that are at especially high risk for alcohol intoxication and problem behaviours, as well as associated health and personal injury risks.

Over the past 20 years, Australia has made significant moves to address issues of alcohol-related harm and violence through server regulations such as the Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) training, through state and territory liquor control, liquor licensing and security legislation and through localised liquor management plans and accords.

In 2007, the Injury Control Council of Western Australia (ICCWA) conducted research into community violence among young people. The project findings indicated that perpetrators of violence regarded the practice of serving patrons to intoxication at licensed premises a major factor contributing to violence.

In 2009, ICCWA (with funding from the National Drug Law Enforcement Research Foundation) examined why staff at licensed premises continue to serve patrons to intoxication despite current laws and interventions. The Drink or Drunk project specifically aimed to gain an understanding of what motivates staff at licensed premises to continue to serve patrons to intoxication and what deters them from providing intoxicated patrons with further service.

Written by Costello D, Robertson AJ and Ashe M.

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