A damper on a night on the town
LAUSANNE Young people looking for a great nightlife are flocking in ever-greater numbers to Lausanne. Many come from Geneva where the bar scene is less lively and, above all, more expensive. Not everyone plans to get roaring drunk, but under peer pressure more are doing so. And they are getting younger, according to a new study commissioned by the canton of Vaud.
The NightLife Vaud study by the Morges-based Le Relais Foundation found that 91% of adults and young people surveyed reported drinking alcoholic beverages when going out at night. Nearly one-third admitted mixing alcoholic beverages with drugs such as cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy. The authors of the report warned that this explosive mix often leads to problem behaviour, such as drunk driving, fights and unprotected sex. As attested by the CHUV and other clinics, many abusers wind up in hospital, often the result of alcohol-related injuries or severe intoxication.
The report recommends that existing laws verifying customer age are more stringently enforced. It also calls for greater cooperation, especially in club areas, between liquor vendors, bar owners, police and local help groups. It found that before 22h it was easier to engage with people and make them more aware of the risks and to focus on prevention. Meanwhile, Vaud is considering a ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages after 20h by retail outlets and to stop the promotion of cut price drinks in bars. As an example of what they consider to be a success, cantonal officials cite similar measures in Geneva, which are credited with reducing the number of hospitalizations of young people drinking to excess. The youth wing of the Liberal Party of Vaud has collected more than 1,000 signatures against the ban.