“Alcohol abuse is a significant cause of health and social problems in the community and unfortunately, Byron Bay has been identified as one of the worst areas in the State for excessive drinking and violence” said Richard Buss, Executive Director of Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol.
Authorities are expecting an influx of visitors to the region over Easter with people taking advantage of the four day holiday and a range of events such as the East Coast Blues Festival near Byron Bay.
Doctors and nurses who work in the Byron District Hospital Emergency Department are concerned they’ll see an increase in the number of presentations as a result of drunkenness and violence occurring in the streets of Byron Bay.
The Easter long weekend is a peak time for acute alcohol intoxication. Sadly this can often result in people unnecessarily ending up in hospital. Over one in five (22%) of all hospitalizations of young people aged 15-24 years old are alcohol related.
“We don’t want people to stop enjoying themselves, but we want them to be aware of the health risks of excessive alcohol consumption and the dangers of mixing alcohol with highly caffeinated beverages,” Mr Buss said.
“People should carefully consider their consumption and the potential harms to themselves or others.”
NNSW LHD is also warning Festival goers in particular, against the dangers of mixing alcohol with highly caffeinated energy drinks.
“Research indicates this combination can mask the effects of intoxication which can lead to increased alcohol consumption, even to dangerous levels,” Mr Buss said.
“The stimulants in energy drinks affect an individual’s perception of how much alcohol they have actually consumed and create an illusion of lower intoxication.”
Experts advise people to set limits and stick to them and have a “Plan B” in place, if you are intending to drink then make sure you, organise a designated driver.
The effects of alcohol differ from person to person, depending on: how much you drink
- how quickly you drink
- your size and weight
- whether you are male or female
- how good your general health is
- how healthy your liver is
- where you drink
- whether you drink alone
- whether you use alcohol with other drugs
Emergency Departments are also braced for a potential increase in trauma patients, as a result of increased road traffic over the long weekend.
“We’d like everyone to have a safe and happy Easter and not end up in hospital unnecessarily.”
Information on alcohol consumption can be found at:
What are highly caffeinated energy drinks?
Highly caffeinated energy drinks are soft drinks which contain a range of stimulants to boost energy levels. The central ingredient is usually caffeine, together with other stimulants including guarana, acai, taurine, ginseng and vitamin B. Energy drinks typically contain high levels of sugar, or are produced as artificially-sweetened ‘diet’ versions. The amount of caffeine contained in energy drinks as well as other substances has raised concerns about their potential health risks, particularly when they are used in combination with alcohol.