New measures that could be introduced to tackle the ‘scandal’ of alcohol abuse and binge drinking in the UK include sweeping minimum pricing and prison-like ‘drunk tanks’ according to by the Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Prime Minister also called for retailers to do more to encourage responsible consumption of alcohol during a visit to a hospital in north-east England.
The cost to the NHS of alcohol abuse has been revealed at an astonishing £2.7bn a year.
Whilst minimum alcohol pricing is still at the forefront of almost all talks of curbing the nation’s drinking problem, opponents of any minimum pricing have called it unfair as it penalises every alcohol consumer and not just binge drinkers who cause mayhem.
One of the tactics that could be deployed by the opponents of minimum pricing is trying to overrule the UK Government with European Competition Law, which stands for the lowering of prices for consumers and allowing firms to operate in a free market.
Commenting on any price increase on alcohol, the British Beer and Pub Association said there was “a danger it would be done through higher taxation, which would be hugely damaging to pub-goers, community pubs and brewers, costing thousands of vital jobs”.
Mr Cameron encouraged the drinks industry to ensure that “responsible drinking becomes a reality and not just a slogan”.
One idea Mr Cameron spoke of is that of “drunk tanks”. Already in use in America and Russia, drunk tanks are secure buildings where people under the influence and out of control are held until they sober up and are no longer a danger to themselves or others. The idea being that this will help free up resources in police cells and hospitals.
Drunks would be transported to the so-called ‘drunk tanks’ in specially-commissioned.