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Alcoholism & Addiction

Australian Government Cracking Down on Alcohol Abuse over Holiday

The Australian government plans to crack down on drunken violence on New Year’s Eve by restricting alcohol at events across the country. In Sydney, revelers will be banned from bringing beer and wine to the harbor to watch the annual fireworks display.

More than 1.5 million people come to Sydney Harbor to watch a lavish fireworks display on New Year’s Eve. City authorities have set up alcohol-free zones to address concerns from area residents and the police about drunken behavior.

Police officers and security guards will search bags to ensure that alcohol is not brought to many of the most popular vantage points near the Opera House and Harbor Bridge. Liquor will be sold at licensed bars at some venues, however.

Similar measures have been adopted by local governments elsewhere. In the resort town of Byron Bay in New South Wales, officials have banned alcohol in the streets, parks, and beaches on New Year’s Eve.

A recent survey has found that many Australians double or even triple their consumption of alcohol over the Christmas period.

Geoff Munro from the Australian Drug Foundation urges moderation. "It is important that hosts at functions provide a range of drinks, not just alcoholic but ensure that people have got non-alcoholic drinks because people need to be reminded that they can have a great time without drinking," he said.

Alcohol-related violence in Australia, including sexual assaults and fights, has almost doubled in the past 15 years. Each week alcohol abuse kills more than 60 Australians, while 1,500 end up in hospitals.

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