Why do people preload? The motivations influencing alcohol intoxication in night-time entertainment districts

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Sorbello, Jacob
Devilly, Grant J
Hughes, Lee
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Introduction and Aims Saving money, socialising and personal enhancement are three popular motivations to preload alcohol. Preloading motivations are known to influence preloading behaviours and encounters with alcohol related harms. However, it is not well understood how motivations influence blood alcohol concentrations across an entire night‐out. This presentation aims to provide a thorough examination of how preloading motivations influence alcohol intoxication.

Design and Methods Two samples will be outlined in this presentation. Sample one examined 3200 participants entering the NEDs. Sample two compared 370 participants at the start and end of the night‐out. Participants reported their primary preloading motivation, past experiences of harm and were given a breathalyser test. All data was collected in the NED of Brisbane (central business district) and Fortitude Valley on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Key Findings At the start of the night, socialising motivations and saving money motivations were the most commonly reported preloading motivations. At the end of the night, individuals reported socialising and personal enhancement motivations were their primary preloading motivation. Significantly fewer individuals reported that saving money was their original preloading motivation at the end of their night‐out. Further details about the relationship between preloading motivations, alcohol intoxication and alcohol related harms will be discussed in the presentation.

Discussion and Conclusions Most individuals perceive preloading as a socialising experience followed by the strategic purpose to save money. Towards the end of a night‐out, individuals are focused on socialising and increasing their levels of intoxication. The recollection of their preloading motivations is influenced by the time of night and the participant’s experience of their night‐out.

Implications for Practice or Policy To address alcohol related harms and reduce preloading intoxication, policy makers must consider the initial socialising experience that is granted by alcohol preloading.

Discussion Section Superintendent Corey Allen, Queensland Police Service, will chair the discussion. Following the presentations we would like a discussion of the following two premises and one question: If one is going to target alcohol harm in night‐time entertainment precincts then one should target the whole night and not just the end of the night; Paradoxical outcomes to restrictive legislation suggests that we should try paradoxical interventions; To what degree are the alcohol fuelled violence injuries that present to hospitals related to night‐time entertainment districts and “who is doing the hitting”? Disclosure of Interest Statement This research was funded by National Drug Strategy Law Enforcement Funding Committee to the amount of $38,900, $39,800 and $28,000 (SmartStart Project, Last Drinks Project and What’s On‐Board Project). Alcolizer Technology provided consumables for testing and calibrated the breathalysers.

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Sorbello, J; Devilly, GJ; Hughes, L, Why do people preload? The motivations influencing alcohol intoxication in night-time entertainment districts, Drug and Alcohol Review, 2018, 37, pp. S8-S9