Shame is a helluva drug but it doesn’t taste anywhere near as good as [your drink of choice]. It’s also one that select Australian medical practitioners are calling for a trial of in a desperate effort to curb binge drinking-related violence, illness, overcrowding and injury (something of an Australian art form) by treating patients with video footage of their own drunken behaviour in hospitals as a reminder of the consequences of playing fast and loose with booze.

News Limited are reporting that the president of the College of Emergency Medicine, the vice president of the Australian Medical Association, chief of the NSW Nurses Association and even the Australian Brewers Association have all expressed their support for a trial of the video-shaming project, a topical treatment which had a proven strong impact on drunk patients when it was tested in Cardiff, Wales, last year. 

Not surprisingly, patients exposed to video of their behaviour were mortified by how they’d seen themselves semi-knowingly act. While the video footage used in the trial was destroyed at the end of the night, it was soon stopped over concerns for privacy and data protection.

Representatives from the CEM said that they’d support anything that curbed binge drinking and the high rates (50%) of assault on emergency ward staff, and the AMA reiterated calls for a trial, saying that half the patients in intensive care wards over the weekends were there because of binge drinking. Everyone agrees that new solutions are needed to deal with the influx, which totals some 65,000 hospitalisations and 3000 deaths related to alcohol abuse annually.

While not expressly advocating the video-shaming method, the Government’s Australian National Preventative Health Agency said that although the Cardiff program was new and yet to produce formal evidence, it was interested in considering any method that could help in tackling binge drinking.

Previous tangible results elicited from the proven effects of shame include the Fall of Man; Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter; coroza hats of the kind worn during the Spanish Inquisition [not #chic]; Michael Fassbender’s… performance in Shame; weekly shame spirals spent in a horizontal state and the other half of YouTube that isn’t animals doing things they shouldn’t be doing [see above, and below].

This just might work.