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Last Updated: Friday, 9 July, 2004, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
Do we need action on alcohol abuse?
Police sting operations are among government plans to reduce alcohol misuse as part of a summer crackdown beginning on Thursday.

The eight week campaign "to kick start a culture change" across England and Wales also includes on the spot fines of 40 and the imposition of anti-social behaviour orders.

Home office minister Hazel Blears said the government wants to make it "less accepted by society for young men and women to go out and drink until they can't remember who they are".

Alcohol misuse is thought to cost Britain around 20billion a year through crime, injuries and lost production.

Do we need to bring in curbs on drinking? Do you support the government's campaign?

This debate has now closed. Thank you for you comments.

Simply slapping fines on people for being to drunk will not work
Craig Mold, Folkestone, UK
It isn't going to be enough to stop this ingrained British culture of drinking. They are not looking for the root causes here. What makes people go and drink until they forget? Deep down the country has a great deal of disillusioned people who feel they work too hard, are hard done by in Europe, who feel they have no say in what goes on in politics and are alienated from our general culture. If you want to stop this behaviour you have to make it worth while. Simply slapping fines on people for being to drunk will not work, and you will probably have a few people who will try and take it up in the Human rights courts.
Craig Mold, Folkestone, UK

We need a more relaxed attitude to drinking in this country. Let bars and pubs remain open as long as they like. If people act up, throw them out. If they break the law, punish them. But let us people who like a drink but don't feel the need to smash anything up go home when we like.
Matt, Watford

I make a point of avoiding town centre pubs on weekend evenings. Why? Because I've had too many unpleasant experiences, directly when myself and friends have been hassled by yobs, and indirectly from witnessing other innocent and not so innocent people get in trouble. Less than a mile away there are multitudes of pubs, where people enjoy a drink, have fun, and cause absolutely no trouble. Some consume more than they should, but this does not lead to trouble, just a sore head in the morning. The atmosphere is pleasant and friendly. Is this a unique experience? I think not, I imagine that there are tens of thousands of public houses like this around the country. People have to stop blaming alcohol as the reason. Of course it is a catalyst, but at the end of the day if someone is an unpleasant trouble maker when drunk, they're not going to be a saint when they're sober.
Ed Mee, Oxford

A typical night out in an English town for young people involves a few drinks down the pub - then being thrown out shortly after 11. They are then subject to interminable queues, entrance fees, dress codes and violent bouncers for the privilege of socialising for a couple more hours in a bar. They are then thrown out again and forced to fight over a handful of cabs, in towns where there are no night buses. It is no wonder that resentment and violence ensue.
When will the government and the entertainment industry realise these people are consumers who deserve to socialise and drink sensibly at the time and place of their choosing? Goodness knows they contribute enough to the economy.
Noam Bleicher, Oxford

Thanks to cheap, chain pubs towns in our country turn into a war-zone every Friday and Saturday night. I am in my 20s myself and enjoy the odd glass of beer, but to see louts chanting and fighting in such a beautiful places saddens me. We appear to be too complacent of our freedoms in the UK. Action must be taken.
Giles Olley, Winchester, UK

Yes, yes, yes. Having travelled and lived in Europe, we are the only country that has this binge drinking yob culture. Most European cities are safe to visit on a Friday and Saturday night but can you say the same about most British cities?
Anon, UK

What's wrong with today's youth? Aren't they happy with the low-paid uninspiring jobs we all worked hard to create?
Simon Harpham, Sheffield, UK

If the Government are really serious they should shelve their plans for unrestricted pub opening hours. My local city (Nottingham) has become a no-go zone at night. These concerns have been echoed by chief constables across the East Midlands and more widely the UK.
Daniel Curwood, Annesley Woodhouse, UK

Ridiculous knee jerk reaction again from the government. On the spot fines are a farce. People drink because (a) its fun and (b) to escape the misery and lack of hope that a lot of people feel in this country. (a) causes happy drunks (b) does not. Until (b) is addressed this problem will not go away.
J., Winchester, UK

Taking money off people doesn't precipitate culture change
Rico, Sheffield, England
It astounds me that every scheme that the government comes up with is based on charging people. Taking money off people doesn't precipitate culture change (unless we're talking about a people's revolution). Instead of quick fix answers that may please people in meetings, the government needs to think seriously about why people feel the need to get drunk in order to forget about their day at work or the fact that they've no prospects. We live to work and work to drink - they're starting at the wrong end.
Rico, Sheffield, England

The problem is in part due to the government policy, over the last 10 years the number of pubs in the high street has increased from 2 to at least 7. Each one was rejected by the local authority but approved on appeal. Either the appeal process must be changed to take in account the local views or the government must provide more money to allow the police the cope with the increases number of drunks.
Caron, Fleet

I feel it's high time the government did something about alcohol abuse. There is so much money pumped into drug and smoking awareness when alcohol kills just as many people per year. My father was one of those people and I feel that if more had been done to help and educate people like him, he may still be with us now.
Lynsey, Pontypridd, South Wales

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