September is National Recovery Month as well as National Suicide Prevention Month. September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. Resources are available at: https://www.recoverymonth.gov/ - https://www.nami.org/get-involved/awareness-events/suicide-prevention-awareness-month If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.
Many people saw in horror the likelihood of COVID-19 spreading over the country in multiple waves reaching grim milestones of tens of thousands of deaths. Wisconsin continues to have one of the highest rates of COVID-19 infection in the country, with over 1,000 infections counted for several days in a row. There is plenty of blame to go around, from disinformation and propaganda from the White House, to conspiracies and myths spread on Facebook. These stories have resulted in the public not wearing masks and not social distancing. Nowhere is this more apparent and flouted than at the nation's bars and restaurants. The toll on those who work in food and beverage services has been immense. This situation has been terrible not only for those who work in restaurants and bars, but of course also for musicians and entertainers. It is possible that up to one half of all craft breweries will close. Many of Madison's bars have had to close temporarily, and at least one, the HopCat, has closed permanently. Madison has passed an emergency order to keep many bars and restaurants in business by allowing outdoor seating. Recently, the UW Madison had to shut down most in person instruction for two weeks and place two dorms on quarantine. It is not clear if this was related to students going to bars, but it appears that this has been a factor. Madison's outdoor eating and drinking plan dubbed the "Streatery" program will continue past October into April of 2021. Alcohol use appears to have increased due to COVID, initially due to online and take out sales. Studies are also showing that drinking is being used to cope with the isolation of not seeing people and the anxiety that people naturally have about the future. It is too late to go back to February and March and instituted a nationwide lockdown like what should have happened. It is not, however, too late to plan to vote this fall and support candidates who understand public health and support science, and who will be able to sufficiently address the health, economic and faith in government crisis that we are going through. Maybe after that, we can focus more on mental health and substance abuse.
Bars and COVID: www.nytimes.com/2020/08/12/health/Covid-restaurants-bars.html
Drinking rates increasing due to COVID:
With approximately 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 including 434 deaths in Wisconsin and nearly 2,000 hospitalizations, the Tavern League of Wisconsin has taken a very bold anti-science approach by demanding that the state's bars are restaurants open immediately without a comprehensive plan. Fortunately, some municipalities like Madison and Milwaukee are enforcing their own safer-at-home policies. With an increase in infections and deaths continuing every day, and the likely continuation of infections into 2021 and beyond, this irresponsible reaction from the state's largest liquor lobby has infuriated many.
I am thinking of everyone who is facing challenging times right now due to COVID-19 and for any other reason. I hope you find these links and information helpful.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
CDC - Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19 https://emergency.cdc.gov/coping/selfcare.asp
SAMHSA Behavioral Health Disaster Response Mobile App - https://store.samhsa.gov/product/SAMHSA-Behavioral-Health-Disaster-Response-Mobile-App/PEP13-DKAPP-1?fbclid=IwAR22vBOu9mFIuDfZ3DLuO28eBrP2gavKXvNVwQW6bNSFrYAICrnQpe8YkYM#:~:text=
The Implementation Science & Engineering Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is currently recruiting participants for its Alcohol and Wellness: Testing the Integration of Smartphone Technology into Primary Care research study. The program provides a $250 participation stipend, in addition a $10 gift card just to complete the screening questionnaire. If you or someone you know might be interested and meet these eligibility criteria, please visit the link below.
Prohibition (1920-1933) went into effect a hundred years ago. It was a failure of a policy, giving rise to organized crime and creating an underground, unregulated market. Since the repeal of the 18th amendment, however, alcohol continues be a social problem. It is the third most preventable cause of death after smoking and diet/exercise. We need more access to alternative forms of treatment and mental health. Abstinence works, but doesn't work for everyone. We need more regulation of the alcohol industry including sales and use taxes. Children and adolescents should not be able to view advertising. I know I sound preachy but this is very personal to me and I hope to see some changes with our drinking culture in the future.
A recent report by the Research Society on Alcoholism has found that number of deaths per year has doubled over the past two decades,
Former Prism/Plan B location seeks alcohol outlet license for a new nightclub - Neighborhood meeting and ALRC presentation planned for January 2020
An announcement from Madison's District 6 Alder, Marsha Rummel, has been posted on neighborhood listserves:
"January 8 neighborhood meeting at 7:15p @ Wil-Mar for Canopy liquor license application at 924 Williamson St:
Please join me for a neighborhood meeting where we will hear about Austin Carl’s proposal to open Canopy at 924 Williamson Street, formerly Prism, and his application for a Visual & Performing Arts License and a Class B Liquor & Beer License. Canopy would be a coffee shop with food service during the day and a bar/nightclub with live entertainment such as bands and DJs at night. Mr. Carl also plans to remodel the upstairs into a classroom area where people could take dance, fitness, and other classes. He also intends to add an outside patio. The estimated capacity of the establishment is 375, and the proposed hours of operations are 8am-12am Sunday through Tuesday; 8am-1am on Wednesday; and 8am-2am Thursday-Saturday. The Alcohol License Review Committee will consider his application at its January 15 meeting. The proposal will also require a Conditional Use Permit due to the use as a nightclub.
Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - 7:15 p.m. Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center, Yahara Room - 953 Jenifer Street
I look forward to seeing you on the 8th.
Marsha Rummel Alderperson, Sixth District email@example.com 608-772-4555"
Possible changes coming to Wisconsin's "3-Tier" system of alcohol production, distribution and vending
Wisconsin admittedly has an outmoded and very frustrating system of regulations affecting nearly everyone involved in making and selling alcohol. Everyone seems to make money, but it does seem unfair that distributors are required to be middlemen in between producers and vendors, regardless of what is practical or logical. The current regulations have been around since prohibition, and you can get a very good overview from WPR.org here: www.wpr.org/history-politics-shape-wisconsins-alcohol-laws
Here's where things get complicated: Industry groups and leaders in the state legislature (i.e. Republicans) are working to re-write those 100-year-old statutes in ways that are more 'fair' to each party. Sounds good, right? Well, the one group that is not sitting at the table when the laws are being discussed are consumer protection groups, doctors, mayors and public health officials. Why should they? Simply put, these stakeholders are the ones who have to pick up the tab for an industry that for its entire history has worked to oppose common sense approaches to reduce the harm of alcohol. Does the industry support increasing taxes, some of which have not increased since the 1960's? No. Do they support interlock ignition systems to prevent drunk driving, like the ones supported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving? No. Do they support penalties and fines for taverns that over-serve patrons? No. Do they support alcohol outlet bans? No. Wisconsin taxpayers and communities are paying, literally, for the financial, health and safety costs of widespread alcohol availability and that is not expected to change anytime soon.
Ok, ok. Enough opining on my part. You can read about it yourself below. And ask your city and state officials what they think while you're at it.
More info: madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/proposal-in-the-works-to-change-wisconsin-alcoholic-beverage-enforcement/article_da9cea22-098b-5bcb-9ec1-8c3e8921cc8e.html
In what will be a very important discussion, the Alcohol License and Review Committee will be meeting at 5:30 pm this Wednesday in the City-County Building, 210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd (Rm 201 CCB). According to Alder Marsha Rummel, the topics will include:
"58134 Discussion as a Result of Alcohol Density Study • Handling of capacity numbers for alcohol licensees. • Discuss City staffing resources related to issuance, monitoring, and enforcement activities associated with Alcohol Licenses. • Policy for high density areas anywhere in the city (not just in the current overlay district). • Discussion and potential adoption of recommendations to the Common Council arising from the results of the Density Study and related aspects of Alcohol licensing and monitoring."
Please consider attending and adding your comments to the discussion!
For more information visit: madison.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=7961009&GUID=E7BC5603-FA2C-4A0C-A545-80DF9DD366FE
About this blog
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, with a background in addiction counseling living in Madison, Wisconsin. I created this blog to raise awareness about drinking culture, alcohol outlet density, alcohol policy, alcohol dependence and risks.