With the official definition of binge drinking now being no more than 4 pints of beer per day (three for women), it seems that much more of the nation has a problem than was previously realized.
Latest government research suggests that alcohol directly contributes to the deaths of 22,000 people year with a further 150,000 ending up in hospital. Perhaps most shocking is the estimate for the 1.2m violent incidents where alcohol is considered to play a part.
Alcohol related crime estimated to cost £7.3bn and lost productivity through alcohol totals £6.4bn with an additional £4.7bn in social costs.
However not everyone is convinced by the figures or the logic. The Chair of the British Beer & Pub Association expressed doubts about the binge drinker label applying to around 40% of male drinking patterns.
The flurry of activity and debate around alcohol in government circles is in anticipation of the publication of a national alcohol strategy next year which, for the first time, attempts to address one of the nation’s largest problems at a national level.
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