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Last Updated: Monday, 11 February 2008, 16:01 GMT
Drinking culture crackdown plans
Drinkers
Young people and binge drinkers will be targeted in the campaign
The harm caused by alcohol abuse is at the heart of a new 10-year substance misuse strategy in Wales.

It will pinpoint those who drink to excess and do not believe they have a problem, and will also target the young and binge drinkers in particular.

Ministers blame alcohol abuse for putting pressure on health services.

They will also push for stricter rules on alcohol promotion, an increase in tax on drink and a reduction in the drink-drive limit.

There is growing evidence that young people in Wales are starting to drink at an early age and regularly binge-drink - with consequent risk of injury, road traffic crashes, unsafe sex and anti-social behaviour
Wales' Chief Medical Officer, Tony Jewell

The assembly government believes alcohol misuse is far more widespread than that of illicit drugs and can be particularly damaging - leading to anti-social behaviour, domestic violence, poor health and family break-up.

Speaking at the launch of the consultation, Social Justice Minister Brian Gibbons said the economic and social costs of alcohol and class A drug misuse were estimated to be as much as 2bn each year.

"It also puts pressure on public services, costing the NHS in Wales up to 85m a year," he said.

"It is therefore right we should place a greater emphasis on alcohol and reducing the harm it causes"

Wales' Chief Medical Officer Tony Jewell said the strategy would target younger drinkers.

"There is growing evidence that young people in Wales are starting to drink at an early age and regularly binge-drink - with consequent risk of injury, road traffic crashes, unsafe sex and anti-social behaviour."

A total of 3m extra will be available from funds over the next three years to deliver an alcohol action plan.

More support will also be given to other substance misusers, including investment in youth work, along with an expansion of services such as helplines for drug users.

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