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Indigenous community takes alcohol policy into its own hands

Date posted: 2 August 2017

Fred Ryan is a respected Elder in the Beswick community, in Katherine, Northern Territory (NT). He is 76 years old, an amputee and deaf in one ear. He is also an effective bouncer at the community social club.

'The club's been open for a long, long time...when we're at the gate we give them a breath analysis and if they go over we tell them they've had enough and go home,' said Mr Ryan.

He says he is committed to monitoring the club because it's helping to reduce problem drinking in Beswick.

The club doesn't run like an ordinary pub: punters are breath-tested before they enter, and if they blow over the 0.05 blood alcohol limit, they're not allowed in. Only mid-strength drinks are sold and there's a limit of up to six per customer per day.

Beswick leaders are hailing the social club as a success in reducing alcohol-related crime in their community, as well as the broader region.

In the NT, Aboriginal people are 10 times more likely to die from an alcohol-attributed cause than the national rate.

The NT Government is reviewing its alcohol bans and restrictions in Aboriginal communities, and a number of submissions have called for more social clubs in Aboriginal communities to reduce alcohol-related harm if residents are supportive of them.

Source: ABC News


Last updated: 2 August 2017
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Australia's National Research Centre on AOD Workforce Development National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre National Drug Research Institute