Friday, 28 March 2008

Alcohol and the Easter Holiday

Another article from Delfi.lt (http://www.delfi.lt/news/daily/Health/article.php?id=16457699). This one is about the city of Panevėžys and the Easter holiday, during which most people got four days off. With a population of around 120,000, it's the fifth largest city in Lithuania. The translation is mine.

Long Weekend Not Complete Without Alcohol

The Easter holiday was a stressful time for police and doctors in Panevezys. Domestic conflicts, injuries suffered by drunken people, and people brought from bars and night clubs and off the street to sober up in the police station are all proof that people in our city still do not know how to celebrate without alcohol.

Paramedics working for the district [something like a county in the U.S.A.] responded to more calls than they had to during Christmas. Quite a few of the people who called for help were also drunk.

According to Regina Bucinskiene, spokesperson for police headquarters, the police responded to 501 incidents on 21–25 March, but most of them of minor. The most serious was when a drunken father was beaten by his drunken son and needed to be taken to hospital.

Bucinskiene reported that the police had to help settle 30 domestic conflicts and 59 people were taken to the police station. Forty-seven of those people had to spend the night there to sober up. Among those taken to the police station were nine minors. The most drunks, 16, were taken to the station on the second day of Easter [24 March]. Over the five long days of the holiday [I guess the author is counting Friday as well], there were 11 robberies, 2 muggings, and 255 traffic offenses (in which 13 drivers were drunk).

The police spokesperson emphasized that as usual during holidays there were extra police working.

Injuries suffered by drunks

Valentinas Andrejevas, chief of police at the 1st precinct, stated that the police were forced to pick up drunks from various locations: bars, night clubs, and the street. There were domestic conflicts and fights between young people.

Andrejevas reported that some of the drunks picked up were minors. One 16-year-old boy found on the street was suffering from alcohol poisoning and had a concussion. It is thought that the teen hit his head on the curb when he fell down.

According to Andrejevas, when the parents of the drunken minors arrived at the police station, some behaved properly and others defended their children and blamed the police. [That seems to be quite common here.]

In Panevezys District, the holiday was comparatively peaceful. On 22–25 March, eight police patrols checked 430 drivers and discovered 52 traffic violations, five of which were drunken drivers. Over the four days, 73 people reported incidents.

Vida Vienzindiene, chief paramedic in Panevezys District, reported that her office unexpectedly received the most calls, 45, on the first day of Easter [23 March]. People called for various reasons: illnesses got worse or people suffered minor injuries in conflicts. Those who suffered injuries were most often drunk.

Alcoholics have gotten younger

In the city there were no more calls for ambulances than there have been over other holiday weekends. Because the weather was wintry, some people were injured after slipping on ice and others suffered from problems with their digestion or hearts.

Lina Trokaj, head of reception at Panevezys Hospital, said that her department was flooded with non-emergency cases. Over the five days, about 400 people were checked in just because their family doctors were not working.

Most of those who were injured were also drunk, Trokaj said. She added that there were more drunken men than women and that some of the drunken people were minors.

Geidre Raudonikiene, chief psychiatrist at the Addiction Treatment Center, noted that the center was usually quieter during religious holidays. Over the past weekend, only four detoxification proceedures needed to be done.

According to the psychiatrist, the center expects more people to come in several days after the holiday since people always put off contacting them until the holiday has passed. There have been times after holidays when so many people wanted to be treated that the center ran out of beds and had to prescribe outpatient treatment.

Raudonikiene stated that recently many people have requested the treatment offered by the center. The reason for this may be that their prices are lower than other such treatment centers. She was quite upset to report that the age of people requesting treatment for the effects of alcohol has gone down quite a lot. More and more 18–30-year-old people on whose faces alcohol has already left its marks are asking for help. Most state that they began using alcohol at about the age of 13.

6 comments:

LazyMF said...

What are the penalties there for DWI?

Alan Hendrixson said...

Good question. Will have to do some research.

Alan Hendrixson said...

The penalties became harsher at the beginning of the year. The basic penalties are:

From 0.41 permille to 1.5 permille (in U.S.A. 0.041–0.15 BAC): fine from LTL 1000 to 1500 (EUR 290–434) and loss of driving license for 1–1.5 years

1.51 permille and higher (BAC of 0.151–): fine from LTL 2000 to 3000 (EUR 580–870)(or 10–30 days in jail) and loss of driving license for 2–3 years

For repeat offences: loss of driving license for 3–4 years and confiscation of automobile

Strict, but people still drive drunk.

LazyMF said...

Harsher than than the US.

Alan Hendrixson said...

Has to be. Maybe you read my 3 March post? By the way, thanks for including the link on your blog.

Alvinsmith said...

If in India state like Gujarat can ban alcohol to reduce alcohol abuse then why not government of Lithuania can not ban? They can take nonalcoholic beer during Easter holiday which is being good high.

Regards,
Alvin
Alcohol abuse affects millions. This site has a lot of useful information.

http://www.alcoholabusecenter.com