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Cheap start to a violent night

ISABEL BIRD | The Examiner | Dec. 23, 2012, 1 a.m.

A Group of friends decide to have a few alcoholic drinks at home before heading to a pub.

It is cheap and enables a catch-up before the crowds and music get too loud.

But pre-loading - drinking alcohol before going out to licensed venues - has been found by an Australian study to be a major cause of violence and hospitalisations.

The study found that those who drank between one and five drinks were 1.5 times as likely to experience harm, and those who drank six to 10 drinks were twice as likely.

Lisa, 21, of Launceston, said having a few drinks to get a "bit tipsy" before going out was normal among people her age.

She said sharing a carton or a bottle of spirits and getting very drunk was also fairly standard.

"I honestly don't think I would go out on the town without pre-loading drinks," Lisa said.

"I would rather drink at home or a friend's house, so I can get ready, get a bit tipsy, listen to my own music, and not spend as much money, because I know I'm going to spend a lot when I'm out."

The evening can change very quickly for Lisa, who said she had been in fights after drinking.

"You are either in someone's face or you are just going with the flow," she said. "There are two ways of being drunk: you are either a happy or an angry drunk. I'm both.

"If you go to a random house party you wouldn't see conflict, but if you go out on the town, then a lot of people these days are looking for a fight."

Northern Tasmania headspace chief executive Cate Sinclair said pre-loading was fairly standard among teenagers and young adults.

"Obviously, it's cheaper, more accessible and, if they are underage, it is easier to get it," Mrs Sinclair said.

Hospitality Industry Association chief executive Steve Old said the increased availability of alcohol was a key issue."Off-licences (bottleshops) make alcohol more readily available, but people have to drink it somewhere," Mr Old said.

Courtesy of The Examiner


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