THE Australian Hoteliers Association says illicit drugs are the cause of violence in and around licensed venues, a claim Lyndon Community deputy CEO Juliane Allan said was unfounded.
The AHA recently dismissed claims that alcohol is fuelling late-night violence, arguing instead that it’s a mixture of drugs and alcohol that is causing the problem.
Dr Allan said it was not the case in Orange and alcohol was by far the biggest problem drug in the city.
“Alcohol is the most renowned drug for increasing violence and aggression,” she said.
The Lyndon Community in Orange treat 60 per cent of clients for alcohol problems, 20 per cent for cannabis use and the remaining 20 per cent for over-the-counter prescriptions and opiates.
“Cannabis, in particular, is not going to cause people to become violent,” she said.
The National Drug Strategy Household Survey report found that 2.1 per cent of people used methamphetamines.
Dr Allan said there was no reason to assume the statistics would not be the same for Orange.
“Speed is the most common after cannabis,” she said.
“A very small proportion of the community use illicit drugs and that may be a factor in some instances but not many.”
She said in terms of treating people in Orange the Lyndon Community had never treated people for methamphetamines use.
Orange mayor John Davis said he had anecdotal evidence from “ a cross-section” of the community that drugs were a major contributing factor to violence in the central business district after dark.
“There is no solution to the problem without addressing illegal drug use,” he said.
“The facts are that drugs are a problem.”
Dr Allan said it was rare for a person to consume illicit drugs and become violent.
Orange AHA delegate and Royal Hotel licensee Tony McClure said drugs were not a problem at his venue but statewide statistics told a different story.
“Statistics show there is a problem and the problem is methamphetamines,” he said.
“I can only go on what I have heard but in what people tell me there is a fair bit [drug use] that goes on.”
Dr Allan said it was important to remember that most people who go out and drink do not end up in a fight.
“Binge drinking five years ago wasn’t a problem but it is a problem now because it has a name,” she said.
“Giving it a name makes it a problem.”