Education will be the key to tackling our binge culture

COMMENT: University has to prove it offers value for money

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It’s right we should acknowledge that binge drinking has become one of society’s biggest headaches in recent times.

Anyone who finds themselves in a city centre on a Friday or Saturday night will have seen people so intoxicated that they’re no longer capable of caring for themselves, or each other.

With the many cheap drink deals now on offer, this kind of behaviour isn’t just reserved for the weekend any more.

Of course, everyone likes to go out from time to time and let loose a little.

But many people are in danger of sliding right off the scale of what is and isn’t acceptable.

Binge drinking now plays a starring role in the high levels of alcohol-fuelled violence we’ve seen here on the streets of Portsmouth.

You won’t find many people prepared to argue that the answer is to sit back and do nothing.

Yet finding a workable solution has perhaps been harder than many expected.

That’s why new measures to set a minimum alcohol price of 40p a unit in England have been given such a cautious welcome.

With chronic liver disease rates so high in Portsmouth, it’s clear that some new and inventive ideas are called for.

But while all attempts to tackle alcohol abuse should be welcomed, most people understand that putting up the prices is unlikely to be the quick-fix that the government was hoping for.

Supermarkets will continue to sell alcohol at a much cheaper price than pubs and clubs. And hard-core smokers have consistently proved that they’re prepared to absorb any price hike that’s thrown at them. Why would it be any different in the case of alcohol?

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; what we really need is a more hard-hitting programme of education.

Youngsters can’t be allowed to live in ignorance. Understanding the dangers must be a key tool in tackling our binge drinking culture.

A more prohibitive pricing structure might have an effect – but only as part of a more structured raft of measures.