Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

CBD alcohol problems – alternative approaches

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-11-25

Because of pretty significant alcohol-fueled problems in Melbourne, there are many pushing for early closing of venues or stopping serving alcohol.  This would inconvenience many who won’t get drunk, as well as push louts back out into the suburbs earlier, which would annoy the hell out of those who responded to surveys about closing down the city’s drinking spots, and possibly cause a change in the "poison of choice" to some things even worse than alcohol.

The problem would probably be solved if there was a crackdown to enforce rules about not selling alcohol to inebriated people.

However, back in the days of no-selling-booze-on-Sundays, there was a way of allowing some people to get alcohol in hotels.  A modification of this approach could be useful for the modern era.

The idea was that hotels could serve alcohol to a legitimate traveller, whether staying at the hotel or not, if they could do two things:

  • Show an inter-urban ticket proving they’d been travelling on the Sunday.
  • Received the alcohol with a sit-down meal (even if only a pie).

So, sitting down at a bistro, perhaps having a pizza after being caught at work because you were a sysadmin recovering a system after a crash, or maybe out having a meal with friends, get some alcohol to wash the meal down, and no worries.

Besides, with a meal in your stomach, you absorb the alcohol gradually, and are less likely to become obnoxious.

Other approaches could include:

  • Encouraging provision of non-alcoholic drinks that taste like as if they were alcoholic, such as Coopers Ultralight Beer (which is about as alcoholic as ginger beer, not enough to attract tax, and legally sold in supermarkets to minors), Claytons or Angostura Bitters.  This option minimizes losses of venue owners.
  • Legalizing personal marijuana use within homes: youths (including young adults) would be too lazy to leave their lounge-rooms, and therefore wouldn’t bother anyone.
  • Improving night-time public transport so people are more likely to go home early.

Doubtless other people, but not politicians, have innovative solutions.  The only one coming from the politicians and cops is the "chill area" serving coffee, tea, and biscuits.

If only someone could make the soma described in Aldous Huxley’s "Brave New World".


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