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Drink driving facts blog

If Your Binge Drink Your Brain Will Shrink

I have heard about this and often red about in the newspapers, however, this is the first time I have actually witnessed it. I must admit that in fact, it was horrifying.

 

mcg1Saturday night 23.07, I just waved bye to a friend who was going to the footy at the MCG, Gate 2. The time is around 8.30 pm, so, it is not that late by any stretch of the imagination, particularly for a saturday night.

 

I detect amongst the crowd gathering outside the gate, a person running and another getting hit on the head. The latter falls, instantly knocked out cold, falls with all his weight his head hitting hard the concrete. The mate of the victim, tried to tackle the seemingly random attacker as he fled, however, he was held back for fear of his own safety by another friend. Frustrated at seeing his mate out cold blood gushing out of his head, the friend of that victim seems to loose the plot screaming at everyone crying out loud: "we were just walking past."

 

As he is obviously agitated and in utter fear for the victim's well-being after such a careless and random, unprovoked attack, other friends from the same group gather around trying to console and comfort him. He eventually begins to calm down particularly as police and ambulance were called by security officers already by now swarming on the scene. He remains visibly frantic and agitated or naturally worried about his mate, the victim lying cold on the ground. Passers by can't help but stare at the scene looking both confused and helpless

 

The victim already unconscious for about 3 minutes is feared dead. Suddenly, when handled by one of the lady security officers, the victim begins to display some movement as it seemed as if he came back from the dead. Whilst blood has already covered some of the surrounding concrete, pouring out of the victim's cut head, you could distinctly hear the relief from the crowd.

 

mcg2Next, the police arrive on the scene and begin to clear the area from the noisy crowd providing some comfortable space to the injured man. Immediately following the police, a flashing light slowly approaches; it was the ground's first aid single individual arriving in his tuc- tuc.

 

The police begin performing their duties questioning potential witnesses; they appeared to  have been able to identify which way the attacker fled. So, they radio the information through.

 

Nevertheless, despite the some relief felt in the crowd, an overall anxious feeling reigns within the vicinity of the attack as people are clearly confused, concerned, shaking their heads in disbelief and openly wondering how little security they feel due to such dangerous and cruel occurrence that could in fact happen to anyone. As all of this is going on, I hear a woman angrily speak out: " Oh my God, I see this happening all the time.

 

It suddenly dawned on me, the fact that yes, it is happening all the time and yes, it appears that we all seem as a society oblivious or even impotent in preventing such nasty incidents.

 

As I am walking about, I smell the stink of alcohol on the breath of the mate of victim and can't help assume that the victim was also heavily intoxicated. In fact, it would not surprise me that at least half of those people standing around (excluding MCG staff) seem to be quite intoxicated. Furthermore, many are also smoking as people would do, namely to go outside the ground to have a cigarette. Accordingly, the smell of alcohol mixed in with tobacco was distinctly repelling.

 

Anyhow, by now the ambulance arrived.

 

mcg3The paramedic asks if the victim can get up on his own instead of being carried on a stretcher. To all our happiness and relief, we see the man wobble up, clearly shaken as the ambulance paramedic appears to be telling the victim what in fact had happened. The victim visibly shakes his head in disbelief seemingly unable to recall any of what had happened. I managed to take a good look at his face with blood all over his head and a heavily swollen eye forced shut by the injury.

 

I hear one if his friends say thank God this was not a David Hicks incident who died not that long ago, not by the punch thrown by a security man, but through the extent of damage inflicted as the full weight of his relaxed and intoxicated body falls with the head crashing against the concrete edge of the footpath.

 

I continued wondering how frightening this situation had been on a young saturday evening  whereby, relatively, the night had not even begun yet. Further, I asked myself how many more of such horrific attacks will happen just on the one saturday night. How much fear should we subjected to as a community living in one of the best cities in the world where we remain unsafe relative to our environment and culture. So, I wondered how many people will have to die before someone in government, media or even in amongst the clinical profession will get up and say: enough is enough.

 

As I ponder these thoughts, it suddenly dawned on me that, hey, I am that someone, a clinical professional in the alcohol awareness field that ought to and should do something about this problem. So, I gather some courage and begin to bravely take snaps using my mobile phone. Whilst I was worried that someone from the police or security staff present might tell me off for taking these photos, I was motivated by the need to publish my thoughts concomitant with such horrible images of our current society in a modern city such as Melbourne. I would hope that the media, electronic and the papers would voice the community's concern and outrage through such a story about the scale of violence currently fogging the streets of melbourne. It is even scarier, that whilst human nature ignores such images as irrelevant to any one of us, I dare and challenge the readers to view this as a warning sign, as a potential threat that this could in fact to to anyone at anytime

 

From a clinical perspective, I feel concerned about damaged brains of our youth of today and can't help wondering how such youth will aid guiding our nation as the future leaders of our time. Does it occur to such youth that their brain is damaged every time they binge drink. That in fact, binge drinking causes shrinkage of brain tissue. That they should in fact stick to moderation even if they are not driving. Sadly, the TAC tells us, if you drink, don't drive and if you drink and drive you are a bloody idiot. Sadly, the more significant message is missed, namely, that consumers ought to drink in moderation regardless of where, when and what they are doing, driving motor vehicles or otherwise. It needs to be shouted out and consistently displayed in newspapers and the media at large that the human body was never designed to cope with massive concentrations of alcohol.

 

Dr. Kaldawi who happened to witness this accident in what seems to be a freaky coincidence is the clinical supervisor at 05.com.au , a drink drive course and assessment website for those convicted drink drivers seeking licence restoration. Dr Kaldawi is also an  advocate and passionate speaker on the damage alcohol causes upon Australian society thereby creating the slogans:

 

If You Binge Drink Your Brain Will Shrink & .05 whether or not you drive.

 

Finally, Dr Kaldawi developed an educational kit entitled "Know Your Limit", comprising a DVD on BAC or Blood Alcohol Concentration, A pamphlet or a Guide that teaches consumers how to estimate BAC, a Standard Drink measure to define what a real drink is and for practical purposes, a breathalyzer tested and certified to Australian Standards. The entire research, design and development of this kit happened right here in Melbourne.

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