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The British like a drink but hate drunks

Published:  23 July, 2008

Survey shows concern over misuse

The Portman Group has presented the largest-ever survey of public opinion on alcohol to health minister Gisela Stuart, who is responsible for developing the Government's long-awaited Alcohol Misuse Strategy. The report, called Alcohol & Society, shows the results of a national survey conducted by Mori on behalf of the Portman Group during February and March 2000. "The key message which emerges from this survey," said Portman Group director Jean Coussins, "is that, by and large, the British public like a drink but don't like drunks." "Alcohol & Society shows clearly that the public is particularly concerned about the problems of both under-age alcohol misuse and drunken violence and disorder. It is vital that the Government, industry and the public health and education authorities all pull together on a common agenda to tackle alcohol misuse," said Coussins. The survey pinpointed widespread criticism of the high cost of soft drinks in pubs and bars. The representative sample saw drinking on the street and under-age drinking as problems that needed tackling. It also saw the need for more consistent and tougher penalties for drink-driving. On reducing alcohol consumption among under-18s, 91% supported wider use of identity cards; 83%, the introduction of compulsory ID cards; 88%, heavier penalties for retailers; and 67% approved of the police using under-18s to buy alcohol to trap licensees. The respondents believed that it was a hard core of people who were responsible for street drinking, general violence and drink-driving. Many felt that "shock tactics" were the most effective means of communicating sensible drinking messages, combined with factual information.

NB: There is a profile on Jean Coussins, and the Portman Group, on page 18 of the current print edition of Harpers Wine & Spirit Weekly