Byron Bay youth choosing to live on Straight Edge
AS THE debate surrounding alcohol fuelled-violence on our streets continues to rage, many young people on the Northern Rivers are choosing not to drink.
The Straight Edge scene, which sees abstinence from taking drugs, drinking alcohol and promiscuous sex, has been growing in Byron Bay since the late '90s.
Sam McMahon, of Lismore, is 22 years old and has been Straight Edge for five and a half years.
He is one of a growing number of young people saying 'no thanks' to a drink in the face of binge drinking culture.
"I used to drink a lot, I got myself into trouble and I didn't like where I was going," Mr McMahon said.
He said being Straight Edge was a lifestyle choice.
Despite many arguing alcohol is linked to violent behaviour, it's no secret those who don't drink are also capable of starting a fight.
"Some people are just like that and they're still going to go out and do it if they're drunk or not, but there is no doubt alcohol contributes," Mr McMahon said.
Byron Bay Liquor Accord chairwoman Hannah Spalding agreed being intoxicated was not solely to blame for violence on the street.
She said violence was a cultural problem and MMA or steroid use contributed to violence.
"From my experience, I think people chose to be violent and it's a cultural problem and it's a lot more complex than a single silver bullet solution," Ms Spalding said.
"Venues can't change what someone is going to do out on the street - if they're going to do it (be violent), they will."