To Anna Sheridan (Posted July 3, 2012 at 10:03 am): …

Comment on Briscoe inquest: Alcohol’s ‘flotsam and jetsam’ forever a burden on police? by Bob Durnan.

To Anna Sheridan (Posted July 3, 2012 at 10:03 am):
RE: “statistics from such places – how many lives they turned around, how well they work, do they have enough funding and staff etc.”
I suggest that you try googling the following to see what they put on their web sites.
DASA (Drug and Alcohol Services Association) in Schwartz Crescent;
Aranda House (DASA’s residential detox/treatment/rehab arm on the corner of South Terrace and Kempe St);
CAAAPU (Central Australian Aboriginal Alcohol Programs Unit) on Ragonesi Rd;
ADSCA (Alcohol and Other Drugs Services Central Australia) near the RFDS, opposite the Stuart Lodge;
Bush Mob, moving to the old CAT hostel in Priest St from the old DASA house on Schwartz Crescent;
CAAC Safe and Sober Program, operating out of the old Imparja premises on Leichhardt Terrace;
CAAC Clinic on Gap Rd;
CAAC SEWB – old Imparja building;
Holyoake – Newland St
Alice Springs Hospital
Some of them will have information booths at the Show next weekend, with staff available to answer questions.
But you are right – it would be useful to have an overview of the services and relevant stats. Perhaps a job for Steve Brown in his new role as watchdog of services?

Bob Durnan Also Commented

Briscoe inquest: Alcohol’s ‘flotsam and jetsam’ forever a burden on police?
Reply to S (Posted July 9, 2012 at 10:42 am):

1. Although it is possible that there may be some people who are only able to drink alcohol legally “on licence”, and it is also possible that “in some circumstances this results in unsafe drinking practices in an effort to quickly consume any alcohol and evade detection by police”, the number of cases of this nature is likely to be insignificant compared to the number of people benefiting from the existence and enforcement of the Banned Drinkers Register and the associated measures.
2. Likewise a day on which take-away alcohol is not sold from retail outlets and pubs is likely to cause far more benefits than problems, and this has been clearly demonstrated in Tennant Creek, for several years after the measure was introduced in the mid-nineties, when the arrangement led to less serious alcohol-related problems occurring, as attested by the police and health staff who worked there at the time, and who argued very strongly for its retention.
3. Re your concern about the welfare of “a significant number of people who are so physically reliant on alcohol that withdrawal can have serious medical consequences and an alcohol free day may actually cause them harm, or create a situation where they resort to desperate measures to obtain alcohol.”
In fact such people would still be able to buy and drink alcohol every day, as the suggestion is simply for a day on which no sales of take-away alcohol are permitted, meaning bars and other licences to sell alcohol for purely on-premise consumption would still be allowed to operate as usual.
4. Re your thoughts that “current alcohol sales times, both on and off premise, potentially create a situation where some consumers are at a peak intoxication level in the early evening, a time when children and other family members are around”, and “perhaps different opening / selling hours could create a situation where consumers have passed the peak intoxication stage by this time and could be ‘sleeping off’ the effects.”
As you say, the “entire issue is obviously a complex one with no easy solutions and unfortunately impacts on all residents of Alice Springs in some way”. However the facts are, for decades prior to the present more restrictive regulations, noisy and often violent drinking was occurring on town camps and other parts of town during the day, early evening and far into the night, even though the bottle-shops were opening at 10am, or in some cases even earlier.
The idea that early opening hours for take-away alcohol will somehow improve domestic and civic amenity and safety is completely mistaken. There is much evidence to indicate that it would be more likely to lead to considerably greater levels of alcohol consumption, and consequent violence and other harms, than is presently occurring. The opportunities for buying and consuming it would increase, and the money left in the collective kitties of the heavy consumers of alcohol at opening times would be considerably greater than is currently the case.

Briscoe inquest: Alcohol’s ‘flotsam and jetsam’ forever a burden on police?
To Anna Sheridan (Posted June 29, 2012 at 3:34 pm): Anna, there are several detox options in Alice, ranging from separate NGO residential facilities for adults and juveniles, to supported home detox. via a government AOD service, a service through the the prison, others through the Aboriginal health service, the hospital, and several other support services. There is usually much more capacity available than actual use made of these detox. options and support services.

Briscoe inquest: Alcohol’s ‘flotsam and jetsam’ forever a burden on police?
Fred (Posted June 28, 2012 at 11.27am): Although you are quite correct in demanding greater degrees of personal responsibility by problem drinkers and their associates, you have got your facts wrong: the Coroner has only heard evidence, testimony by witnesses, and arguments by counsel, and now gone away to write his report. You must be getting the Coroner confused with statements by other parties.
A number of police admitted blame for a long list of failures and disobeying instructions, so it is hardly surprising that they are receiving at least some of the blame. As they admitted in court, the difficulty of their jobs is no excuse for some of the things they did, such as treating the detainee in ways that they had promised, following a previous inquest, would not be repeated; not training staff adequately; not staffing the Watch House adequately; not supervising junior staff adequately; not checking regularly on the detainee; and ignoring the alarms being raised by other witnesses.
When police arrest a person, they have a duty of care for the person. It is quite probable that, if Briscoe had sculled 350ml of rum and gotten into similar physical trouble at the Flynn Drive park, his mates would have called for appropriate help, as they tried to do in the Watch House.
Further, the police themselves have admitted that they need more staff and better systems to deal with these matters properly, with less risk to themselves and their prisoners.
Re Hal Duell (Posted June 28, 2012 at 11:02 am):
Hal, Briscoe was an orphan. I know his aunties and grandmothers very well, have done so for 30 years or more. You could not get better, more responsible people. They tried their best. They have nothing of which to be ashamed.
The deceased was not a bad person. He slid into alcohol dependency despite the best efforts of his family. This is a measure of the immense power of local peer group pressure, especially amongst the largely unemployed male drinking circles, where initiated men pressure each other to join in the drinking, and quickly become dependent, then addicted. It is in the interests of the addicted to recruit more participants, and maintain their presence, thus ensuring they go on contributing to the shared kitty of cyclical, unconditional welfare funds which enables the virtually non-stop drinking by some.
The family has every right to sue, if that is their wish. I believe that they should be left to make this decision in private, without external pressure.
I agree with you other comments: it does boggle the mind that there can be a politician on either a local or Territory level not advocating for at least one day a week with no take-away grog sales, and a floor price. The police in court by their frankness earned a lot of respect and support, and it goes without saying must go on performing their most difficult work.

Recent Comments by Bob Durnan

Youth crisis: broken window of tolerance
A very clear and intelligent presentation of key facts concerning the situations of many of the young people who run wild in our streets at night, Rainer. I hope many Alice residents take the time to read it properly.
I particularly appreciated the clarity of your reference to the role that entry to the police and justice system (and later imprisonment) plays in the formation of the identities of many of these kids (to quote: “Especially for young people who are easily impressionable and grappling with a sense of who they are, the mere experience of imprisonment entrenches their identity as a criminal and further orientates them to recidivism.”)
If only more people realised the importance of this insight, and appreciated the folly of failing to respond sensibly and intelligently to this key contradiction.

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Fascinating to hear that seniors who were grandfathered will keep their concessions and receive $500.
Would be even more interesting to know what that means.
Exactly what did the grandfathers do to the seniors? Care to tell us, Sue Shearer?

Bottle shop cops ‘security guards, paid for by the taxpayer’
Neither Paul McCue nor James Smerk understands the role of the police at the TBLs / POSIs outside the takeaway grog outlets.
They are not there for the purpose of policing the outlets, nor for the purpose of proving security for the benefit of the outlets and their customers, although they do some of that incidentally in the course of their main duties.
The reason that police are there is to prevent the trafficking of alcohol by people who have no legitimate place to drink it, and who are intending to drink it in places where it is illegal to do so, such as Aboriginal lands where communities have asked the Liquor Commission to declare areas dry, or town camp leases which the Federal government has declared dry for the wellbeing of vulnerable residents.
These are the sole reasons that police are stationed outside the off-licence liquor outlets.

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In response to R Henry on Oct 20th, on who gets the extra markup money?
There is very little brand loyalty to the cheap brands of Chardonnay amongst our dedicated alcohol-drinking punters: They are after the cheapest hit of alcohol for their buck, regardless of its host liquid, not for their next taste of the rank Calabrian / Bortoli products.
Since the vast majority of shoppers generally shift their choice to better value for money when confronted with higher prices (and this happened when Clare Martin knocked the cheapest wines and sherries off the shelves in October 2006: there was a massive shift to beer), there is unlikely to be very much windfall profits via extra markup.
To the extent that there are any windfalls, they are unlikely to be anywhere near commensurate with the decrease in profits that are likely to occur because of the overall impacts of a number of the proposed reforms.
To see if I am correct, keep your ears open for the sounds of the interstate alcohol industry cartels – manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and their paid public relations reps squealing about the alleged injustice, unfairness and unworkability of these visionary evidence-based reforms.
It is going to be an interesting war, and the outcome will decide whether the NT has any future worth speaking about.

Elferink and Gooda clash over underage marriage
Peter, Posted June 30, 2017 at 2:30 pm: some young girls may resist promised marriage more strongly these days, but I doubt whether some are in a position to do so.
It has been authoritatively reported by youth workers in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek in the last few years that rape of young women is rife in these towns.

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