Discuss the social problems that result from the widespread availability of cheap alcohol

2940 words 12 pages
I. Discuss the social problems that result from the widespread availability of cheap alcohol

The drinking of alcohol is completely acceptable in many if not most parts of society and, in the UK, it is legal to be bought by anyone over the age of 181. This is a well-known fact but a lesser known one is that in the UK, alcohol can be legally drunk on private premises by anyone over the age of 52 and youths aged 16 and over may drink alcohol3 in restaurants from the age of 16 if with an adult4.

Apart from religious reasons, most people do not see a problem with a temperance attitude towards the consumption of alcohol, indeed research suggests that the occasional and moderate consumption of alcohol may have benefits to health. The
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It also confirmed that alcohol was the third leading cause of disease burden in developed countries and, as a result, the cost of providing alcohol-related services was escalating. It emphasised that over a quarter of the population in England was drinking at hazardous levels and that treating alcohol-related conditions cost the NHS approximately £2.7 billion in 2006/07, almost double the 2001 cost. Furthermore, the pressure to react to drinkers’ urgent and increasing health needs made it difficult for preventative measures to keep pace.

Alcohol has always been an issue in relation to reported crime. According to the Home Office, the incidence of crimes committed under the influence of alcohol is rising steadily. During 2011, in England, almost half of all violent crimes were thought to have involved alcohol. Additionally, just under 40% of all domestic violence was attributed to drunkenness. Additionally, research by the British Medical Association suggests that between 60 – 70% of all murders were committed by those under the influence of alcohol.

The abuse of alcohol has always been linked to crime levels and the reason for this is the fact that alcohol is classed as a ‘disinhibitor’. A disinhibitor is a drug that tends to remove a