Interesting Legislation in the U.K. to Affect Binge Drinkers

Binge Drinking in the UK is regulated

Binge drinking and alcoholism has become a big problem in Britain and now the government is stepping in.

It is targeting bars and clubs and will ban promotions and contests that they feel cause patrons to drink irresponsibly.

Is this a case of “big brother” stepping in unnecessarily and ruining the fun, or is this a positive step in the right direction towards getting citizens to drink more responsibly and healthier?

The Growing Drinking Problem in Britain

There is a growing binge-drinking problem in Britain and throughout Europe.  Over the past four decades, Britain has seen its alcohol consumption increase by 40%.  This is increasingly putting the health of its people at risk.  Statistics show that since 1991, deaths in Britain attributed to alcohol have doubled.  The country’s Chief Medical Officer warns: “Cheap alcohol is killing us as never before.”

Binge-drinking is not the only problem.  More Britons were becoming addicted to alcohol.  A report recently published reveals that 3 million of the country’s citizens were alcoholics.  In a recent poll, 25% of respondents reported that they avoid certain neighborhoods due to alcohol-related crime.

An End to the Drinking Games and Promotions

The British government feels some of the games and contests conducted in drinking establishments are to blame for the binge-drinking problem.  Some of these include:

  • The “dentist’s chair”—a game where drinkers have alcohol poured directly into their mouths
  • Games in which customers drink against a time limit
  • Free drinks for groups of women or those under the age of 25
  • Deals (such as half-price for drinks) that are based off of sports games
  • “All-you-can-drink” deals
  • Prize giveaways for finishing off a specific amount of alcohol within 24 hours

The government hopes these bans will help control alcoholism, mitigate binge-drinking, and most effectively target those who are acting irresponsibly.  Other government policies that would come into effect include a tightening of age-verification laws.  Bars would also be required to offer free tap water.

However, some experts feel that these bans on promotions could be misguided and unnecessary.  It interferes with a reveler’s right to drink, reduces the fun, and creates a “nanny state” climate.  Bars feel they are unfairly targeted, since most alcohol in Britain is sold through supermarkets.  It comes at a bad time, since a lot of pubs and bars in the country are struggling due to the recession.  They fear this would cut into their promotions and marketing strategies and they would lose more customers.

Some experts argue that a minimum price on alcohol could be a better strategy, since there are some places in Britain where alcohol is cheaper than water.  The government has not ruled out minimum pricing, but does not want to punish responsible drinkers who are living with low incomes.

If You Feel You Have a Problem, Get Treatment Today

The US government now provides its people a lot more freedom with their drinking than does Britain.  Do not wait for them or anyone else to help curb your drinking.  If you feel you may be progressively losing control of your drinking (or know someone who is)or feel your drinking is uncontrollable, we can help.  The Landing provides treatment for alcoholism and can answer any questions you may have.