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Monday, 19 March, 2001, 06:07 GMT
1m campaign to cut drunkenness
Two people fighting
Drinkers warned to cut back before they put themselves or others at risk
A national 1m poster campaign is hoping to persuade young people not to get drunk.

The Portman Group, which promotes sensible drinking, warns of the dangers of too much alcohol and urges drinkers to cut back before they land themselves in danger.

The posters "If you do do drink, don't do drunk," target 18-24 year olds and warns them of the risks they face by excessive drinking.

When drunk people lose inhibitions they can be more aggressive than usual, ending up in trouble with the law; injured in a hospital's casualty department or vulnerable to attack.

Enjoy a drink, no problem. But getting drunk should be as socially unacceptable as drink-driving

Jean Coussins, director of The Portman Group

It is estimated that one in six people attending accident and emergency have alcohol related injuries or problems.

Jean Coussins, director of The Portman Group, said that one million young adults are drinking regularly simply to get drunk.

Drink warning poster
One of the new posters warning of the perils of too much drink
Putting the posters in pubs, bars, casualty wards, public transport and university campuses, they hope to change the image of a drunken Britain.

Ms Coussins said: "This campaign is the start of a long haul to change the image of drunkenness and the culture of excess around alcohol in Britain.

"Enjoy a drink, no problem. But getting drunk should be as socially unacceptable as drink-driving."

Cutting crime

Health Minister Gisela Stuart welcomed the campaign and stressed that cutting drunkenness will lead to a cut in crime and injuries.

"Drunkenness poses many problems: accidents, violent crime, unprotected sex and ill-health when drinkers go too far.

"This campaign's message is an important one. It recognises that consumers have a choice between sensible drinking and drunkenness, and addresses a number of serious issues which have adverse effects every day on the lives of a huge number of people."

Drink warning poster
Another of Portman Group posters

Rob Hayward, chief executive of the Brewers and Licensed Retailers Association, said it is important to convince drinkers of the difference between having a drink and getting drunk.

"Convincing young people that a good night out does not need to be fuelled by excessive drinking that can lead to dangerous and damaging behaviour is key to developing a more sensible drinking culture in Britain."

Rob Taylor, assistant chief constable of Greater Manchester police, said drink and crime are closely linked.

"The misuse of alcohol, excessive drinking and drunkenness is closely associated with violence, disorder and other forms of social harm."

Dr Hazel Watson, secretary of the Nursing Council on Alcohol and a researcher at Glasgow University, said alcohol fuelled violence is an increasing problem for the NHS.

"Patients who are intoxicated put not only themselves at risk from injury, but also jeopardise the safety of other patients and staff."

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20 Feb 01 | Health
Teenage drink and drugs in Europe
25 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Young drinkers prefer 'shock tactics'
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