Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We Need to Put a Cork in Our Unsafe Binge Drinking Culture

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We Need to Put a Cork in Our Unsafe Binge Drinking Culture

Article excerpt

TIMES have moved on considerably from the idea it is "sophisticated" to allow your child a little watered-down wine with a meal.

When I was younger it was thought good to do things "the French way" and to allow your child very limited tastes of alcohol.

The thinking behind this was that it would teach your child to respect alcohol and therefore not over-indulge in it when they got older. Well I think that idea's been blown out of the water. A lot of my middle-class friends were brought up like that and their taste for alcohol seems not so much restrained as roaring.

The figures show it as well. Last week it was revealed more than 5,900 people have died from alcohol-related conditions, such as liver disease, since 1991.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Countless more have suffered injuries while drunk and in drink-related car crashes or violent incidents.

The North East has the second highest regional rate of alcohol-releated deaths in the country, almost a third higher than the national average for men and more than a third higher for women.

The fact is alcohol is one of life's pleasures for many people but control over it can be difficult to come by for some.

Our culture is saturated by the stuff. Most social occasions are lubricated by alcohol and I have to say I'll more often than not be partaking in it.

But limits are a different thing. Pregnancy was the thing which dragged me out of my previous drinking habits. I chose not to drink at all during my pregnancy and those nine months of sobriety, extended, bar the odd glass of wine, for another year because of breastfeeding.

That was break enough to realise how much I'd been enjoying my wine and that actually the Government's drinking guidelines weren't ludicrously small but that they were something I could definitely live by.

But I'm unusual in my mildly abstemious nature. …

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