Controversial disco drinking contest called off

Managers of a discotheque have come under fire for planning to stage a drinking event in which the winner gets an all-terrain vehicle (ATV).The owners of the night club located near Linz in Upper Austria outraged addiction prevention campaigners and politicians by announcing an extraordinary boozing contest. They informed party-makers on their website that the person who downed the most alcohol will win a so-called quad bike, an ATV growing in popularity among young Austrians.Now organisers have pulled the plug after being hit by a storm of criticism. People’s Party (ÖVP) Governor of Upper Austria Josef Pühringer said today (Fri) the idea to hold such a competition was “irresponsible” and would ridicule all attempts to make people aware of the dangers of addictions.The local Green Party suggested night club owners should lose their licences for staging such and similar contests. Disco owners in the province caused a stir in the past by holding “All you can drink” events. One establishment awarded every guest showing a valid sick note a free bottle of vodka at its “You’re all sick” party.Organisers of the drinking event in which the winner would have bagged an ATV explained they held two such contests in the past, claiming there “have been no problems whatsoever”. They decided to call the recently announced edition off nevertheless after getting into the centre of attention when anti-addiction activists made politicians aware of it.Nearly 23 per cent of Austrians aged 13 to 15 have told researchers in a recent study that they have been drunk at least twice in their lives. The average share among teens living in the 34 member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is 20 per cent. The share of smokers among Austrian teenagers is also higher than the OECD average, surveys have shown. At the same time, the Austrian government invests significantly more on awareness campaigns than most other OECD nations.