Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Risky Business; A Night out Drinking Can Change Your Life. and Not in a Good Way. Kristy Muir Reports

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Risky Business; A Night out Drinking Can Change Your Life. and Not in a Good Way. Kristy Muir Reports

Article excerpt

A NIGHT drinking out with the girls can go from fun to frightening in the blink of an eye. Those less intoxicated with a safety strategy are more likely to get home safe and sound, Queenslanders researchers have found.

Every weekend police and emergency services have to deal with the consequences of people's excessive alcohol consumption.

But it is the silent sufferers who would make the biggest impact if they told their stories. These are the girls and women who are victims of alcohol-fuelled, aggressive attacks and sexual assaults.

A study conducted by a Queensland University of Technology team into young women's drinking experiences, vulnerabilities and the strategies they use to mitigate risks when intoxicated found that, while young women endorsed risky drinking behaviour, they recognised that when they were drunk they were more vulnerable.

The threats identified by the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety's Dr Kerry Armstrong in the study included falls, injuries and being less able to identify and ward off potentially aggressive attacks or sexual assaults from strangers.

Shari Dawson, 20, of Chevallum, said she was aware of the risks of going out and getting drunk.

She said she quickly realised it was not safe to go out and drink too much because you never knew what could happen.

aI usually only drink now when my boyfriend, Ben, is around,a she said.

aI don't drink a lot when I'm out because you need to be able to make good decisions and get home safely.a

Shari said she preferred to go out for a couple of drinks and drive home at the end of the night so she didn't have to wait around for a taxi.

aIt is at 3am when everyone is waiting for a taxi that everything goes wrong,a she said.

aThere are always fights at the taxi rank and you don't want to be around for that.a

Another Sunshine Coast woman found out just how unprepared you are, when intoxicated, for unwanted male attention. …

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