Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Alcohol Abuse

Today's meeting of Stockton Renaissance Partnership received a report on the Alcohol Abuse Reduction Strategy for the borough. It's frightening to think that Stockton has the worst problem in the Tees area and that the North East has the worst problem in England. Fortunately the team working on a strategy for improvement seems to hae a pretty good idea of what needs to be done.
Of course they can't do anything about the law which allows sale of alcohol almost on people's doorsteps all hours of day and night. Just this week our local "neighbourhood" store applied for and had to be granted a licence to sell alcohol until midnight. This is the company which claimed before opening the shop that it would be responsible, community minded etc. So 100m from houses they consider it appropriate to sell alcohol from 6 in the morning till midnight, daily. Who is the abuser of alcohol now? The addict buying his or her last bottle of the night or the company which deliberately opens late in order to sell it to them?
I really hope that Stockton's strategy helps to reduce the number of people with an alcohol related problem and to reduce the number of families being damaged by those problems. I really wish that the lawmakers who don't listen to their own chief medical officer's advice and continue to allow cheap alcohol to be sold on any street corner or shopping parade could be made to spend some time with the police, the doctors, the nurses and others who have to pick up the pieces. Then maybe they'd think twice about the laws before they pass them.

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