Is the binge drinking culture getting out of hand ?

If your drinking copious units of alcohol in a short space of time, perhaps with the sole intention of lowering your inhibitions and getting classically ”drunk”, then you are binge drinking and it is more than likely that over time this could lead to an addiction. An addiction that increases the risk of heart attack, chronic liver disease, as well as cancer, apart from giving rise to many other health issues. There is also further cause for concern, especially if your a pensioner, because binge drinking has also been linked to cognitive decline.

Five years ago licensing laws were relaxed in Britain which saw 24-hour drinking become legalised. Home Office figures now show crime and disorder attributed to binge drinking costs the taxpayer somewhere around £8 billion to £13 billion every year. A paper published by the Department of Health in July this year, which was submitted to a House of Commons Health Select Committee inquiry, has also revealed that out of all age groups, teenage girls are more likely to be binge drinkers and chances of young people who drink excessively before their nights out or trips to pubs getting involved in crimes are high. According to the paper the dire effects of alcohol consumption is costing the British economy somewhere around £21 billion and the NHS £3.5 billion, annually, and cheap drinks being readily available in supermarkets across the country, were to be blamed for it.

David Cameron voiced his opinion on alcohol abuse in the country in February this year, while visiting a hospital in North-East England, stating that over the last decade there has been a staggering growth in acceptability of people being drunk in manners that wrecks lives, spreads fear and harbours crime, with much of this behaviour exhibited by those still under the legal drinking age.

Perhaps it is time the Government starts to take stricter measures in regulating how alcohol is both perceived and sold in Britain. Introducing a minimum price of 50p for per unit of alcohol, a suggestion made by Alcohol Concern, would see prices increasing significantly because a pint of beer would cost somewhere around £1.25 and a bottle of wine £5. Increasing the price would see people thinking twice about spending cash on alcohol, especially when it involves binge drinking, because it would require a lot of money to drink plenty of alcohol in a short space of time.

Although this practice would perhaps hit low-cost retailers who stock up on aisles of many different sorts of alcohol, catering to the mindset of drinking excessively at private parties or just before heading out, it is time that more thought is given to the direct relation such sells have on binge drinking, and more should be done to correct the situation rather than firing up the cashiers and pouring money into the drinks industry at the expense of the public’s health. It is encouraging to see that the British Medical Association agrees with the concept that drinks available in shops should be more expensive.