trust – tolerance – self-sufficiency
Though it receives little serious publicity, excessive alcohol consumption, (be it ‘binge’ drinking or ‘social/family’ drinking with meals), causes far more social and personal harm than all the other forms of drug abuse. It cannot be dealt with by bans and elaborate licensing restrictions, it can only be dealt with by education. This should begin immediately at all school levels, with a view to deterring our children from starting to drink.
Whatever the cause of the current fashion for ‘binge’ drinking and the unpleasant and dangerous behaviour that accompanies it, it will only be stopped by a clear expression of both society’s disapproval and its determination not to tolerate it. Anyone found ‘drunk and incapable’ will be taken into custody and held until they are sober. They will be charged for the cost of their incarceration (and medical treatment) then fined, (say £300). Should they repeat the offence, further fines will be successively higher (say £400, then £500 and so on), and they will be obliged to attend courses to help them understand the many harms that alcohol abuse causes. Initially, this will present the police with some logistical problems, but once it is seen that the law will be enforced and that fines will be collected or worked off, those choosing to adopt this behaviour will have a clear view of the outcome. In addition, when the drug laws have been rationalized there will be more officers available to deal with this problem.
The treatment will be the same for those found ‘drunk and disorderly’ though the fines will be larger.
Where a crime is committed, drunkenness will not be regarded as mitigation but as a deliberate aggravating factor.
Similarly, to bring clarity to the drink-driving laws and the ‘one pint won’t hurt’ attitude, the alcohol limit will be reduced from 80mg/ml to 30mg/ml.
The tax on alcohol will be reduced to end the problem of ‘personal use’ smuggling and to release police and customs officers for more worthwhile work.
HELP AND INFORMATION WANTED
- Numbers and cost of accidents and crimes caused or aggravated by alcohol consumption.
- Number of hospital beds taken by patients with alcohol related illness and total cost to the NHS of alcohol abuse.
- Revenue yielded by alcohol taxes.