On 1 February I posted some extracts from newspapers about the problem of alcohol abuse in our society. This afternoon I came across some other newspaper articles from last year on the same theme.
1. The Belfast Telegraph carried an editorial (9 September 2009) entitled 'Serious side of our drink hangover'
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence of the binge drinking culture in our society. Indeed ,it is virtually impossible to walk the streets of the towns and cities of Northern Ireland without encountering people who are severely inebriated, often violently so.Now there is disturbing hard evidence of the extent of criminal behaviour fuelled by alcohol. Almost half of the 10,000 people arrested in the province this year to date had been drinking. and drinking was a factor in 77% of arrests at weekends.There must be a change of mindset in society. The idea that drinking to excess is normal behaviour or is a requirement to having a good time needs to be challenged.Measures must be taken to control the sale of alcohol and scale of drinking, especially among young people who are most likely to abuse the substance. Those measures should include increasing the cost of strong drinks and strictly enforcing age limits in licensed premises and at off-sales outlets.
2. The Irish News (30 October 2009) reported 'Booze-link death sees barmen in court'. Two barmen in county Tipperary were charged with the unlawful killing of an English tourist who died from acute alcohol intoxication. The bar manager and a barman worked in the Hayes Hotel in Thurles, better known as the birthplace of the GAA, and the tourist died on 1 July 2008 after celebrating his 26th birthday in the hotel. He had died after choking on his own vomit and the case sparked debate about the responsibility that pubs and hotels have to their patrons.
3. The Irish Times supplement Health Plus (1 December 2009) reported in a headline that 'Four in 10 women drink excessively'
More than 50 per cent of Irish people are drinking alcohol harmfully, with older people and women especially at risk, research published today has found.An analysis of data from the 2007 Slan lifestyle study suggests some foru in 10 women are drinking excessively over an extended period, with seven in 10 men also at risk from this pattern of alcohol intake.
4. A news release from the Scottish Government (12 January 2010) reported that alcohol misuse was costing every adult about £900 a year:
Alcohol misuse could be costing Scottish taxpayers around £3.56 billion per year, according to an independent study.The Bible warns us about the danger of alcohol abuse - 'Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise' (Proverbs 20:1) - 'Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine' (Proverbs 23:29.30).
The research, which looked at the impact across the NHS, police, social services, the economy and on families, estimated the total annual cost at between £2.48 billion and £4.64 billion - with a mid-point estimate of £3.56 billion.
Averaged across the population, the £3.56 billion figure means alcohol misuse could be costing every Scottish adult about £900 per year.