Thursday, 15 December 2011


That there is a serious health problem with excessive alcohol drinking is well known and accepted and the authorities are seeking a solution.
I read and there does seem some truth in it that in the colder Northern parts of Europe alcoholism is more of a problem than in the warmer South. Whether this is genetic, environmental or social is arguable, or a combination of all three, but I do believe there is at least a genetic component as evidenced by my own family history. Several solutions have been put forward usually involving increasing the price of alcohol. Doctors in particular favour this tactic saying that an increase in the price and thus affordability would decrease consumption but then doctors can themselves afford to pay more.
Now if price were the main driver of consumption, alcohol problems would be greater in more wealthy people but the contrary is the case. Poorer people have more alcoholic problems than richer people.
So what to do?
I do not think an across the board price increase will make a discernable difference and will penalise poorer people who just want a cheap social drink and do not drink to excess. It is unjust and easy for affluent doctors to advocate as they would be unaffected by any rise.
Government advice on safe limits is a waste of time and encourages ridicule.
The question must be asked "why has the problem increased so much in recent years"? before a logical answer can be given.
I believe it is the increase of strong lagers, ciders and alcopops sold in supermarkets which encourage young people to drink to excess and not for the flavour of the drink. They drink to get drunk and not for the social pleasure or the taste of the drink. Much alcohol is consumed in city centre clubs where apart from "Happy hours" the drinks are extortionately dear. In addition drugs are often bought and taken at the same time, hardly a cheap option.
Alcoholics like other addicts will drink whatever the price and it is unjust that moderate social drinkers should be penalised with higher prices because of other's stupidity.
If drink becomes to dear people will again brew their own as Gorbachev found out in Russia.
Admittedly if there were no alcohol there would be fewer cases of liver damage but life devoid of this social lubricant would be much poorer. It is the abuse that is the trouble and the present seeming social acceptibility which is at fault.
Traditional pubs selling weaker better flavoured beer and other drinks should be encouraged through tax breaks and supermarkets selling high strength tasteless drinks taxed more heavily.
Advertising should also be curtailed.
This would achieve the preservation of our pubs, make our city centres safer and improve the health of the young people who have become to believe it is "cool" to be drunk.
Let the moderate social drinkers have their pleasure but penalise those whose excess causes trouble.
Must go and have my afternoon tipple now. A price rise will not deter me.



I have found that abstinence is the best policy,why rob yourself of the little intellect that you possess,or ruin tomorrow by feeling desperately ill.

Durotrigan said...

Good points. It's not right to hammer the poor in our society in this fashion.

Incidentally, there is a possible development with respect to the intentions of Andrew Brons and a 'new' political party that may interest you:

Andyj said...



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