COMMENT: A sobering thought for those drinking to excess
Many people enjoy a drink or two at Christmas time and this weekend the bar queues at pubs and clubs will be a test of endurance for the thirsty.
Sadly, the flip side to any city’s thriving nightlife is the threat of drinking to excess, which can spiral out of control into unpredictable behaviour and, worse, violence.
Licensees are happy to reap the benefits of a popular and busy establishment but, of course, they also have a responsibility to ensure the comfort and safety of all their customers.
On the face of it, the introduction of random voluntary breath tests is a useful tool in the armoury of the licensed trade to encourage responsible drinking.
But anyone who refuses a breath test could be turned away from the door of any bar taking part in the scheme.
Picture the scene and imagine the confrontations that might ensue.
As one young clubber told us: ‘People go to clubs and pubs to get smashed.
‘They go there to have a good time. You start telling people they’re not allowed in, they’re going to go to the next place.’
And there’s the nub of the problem. Many young people pre-load with alcohol before heading off for a night out. It’s cheaper that way.
But it means they might be on the way to being drunk before they leave the house.
Education is the key — to make people think twice about drinking to excess and to bring them to the realisation it is possible to have a good time without getting inebriated.
Being invited to take a breath test at the door of a drinking establishment may not be the answer to drunken yobbery, but it may be a step in the right direction.
Let’s hope it provides sobering food for thought for those tempted to overdo it on a night out.