Using sweet treats to pacify mean drunks
Darcy Wintonyk, ctvbc.ca
Published Wednesday, July 20, 2011 3:44PM PDT
Can lollipops pacify drunk and angry young men and turn them into mild-mannered sweethearts? A Victoria city councillor thinks so.
Councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe wants to hand out cherry candy suckers to intoxicated people leaving bars late at night, after a successful trial run on Canada Day.
She and her husband, along with two city staff and Victoria Police officers, handed out more than 10,000 of the red and blue sweet treats following the fireworks display until the bars let out around 1:30 a.m.
Thornton-Joe said putting a piece of candy into the mouth of a drunk person had the effect of giving a fussy child a pacifier – the anger dissolved and was replaced by a more cheerful energy.
"Anyone who has a young child knows how sucking on something can calm you," she said. "The response I got was positive and immediate."
In other words, a distracted mouth was a happy one.
Not only were the lollipop-lickers less likely to be screaming loudly or talking smack to other drunken revellers, they were also less inclined to get lippy with each other.
"A lot of fights are because two people look at each other and there's dialogue and that dialogue escalates into a fight. When you're sucking on a sucker there's less dialogue," she said.
The idea to sweetly pacify partiers was borrowed from several studies in the United Kingdom, where pubs in residential areas use candy to encourage their patrons to leave quietly.
The UK also used the sweets to quell a lot of post-bar violence, especially around New Years Eve.
The Victoria Police Department says it will review the Canada Day event to determine if it could be an effective policing aid in the future.