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Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers #1317983
20/02/2012 10:25
20/02/2012 10:25
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Chertsey in the Thames
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Alcohol abuse is on topic at the moment. Tonight’s Panorama program tackles the abuse of alcohol by the middle class at home drinkers. This should be an interesting program if i can forget Alastair Campbell is presenting it and just listen to the information.

I recognise all the signs myself... bottle of wine at the weekend turns into one a night. Then on the occasion the 2nd bottle gets opened and that goes too drunk

The trouble is you find that you can adapt to the quantity of alcohol. 20 years ago and a bottle of red wine would have produced a killer of a hangover and I would not be fit for work the next day. Fast forward to now and I wake feeling perfectly normal, in fact it take a shed load of booze to induce a mere headache even.

This IS worrying, I enjoy a drink and I don’t want to have to stop.

Some reasons I feel why this is happening.

My age and family situation. Before we had children the only time we drank at home was Christmas and Birthdays, but once pub trips required baby sitters the drink purchases started at the supermarket. I still do not drink at a pub on a school night, so why do we find it acceptable to drink at home on those same nights crazy

Beer is now a lot stronger. In my teens and early 20s (going back to the 80s), beer was considered super strength at anything over 5%. Most beers were around the 3.7% mark and tasted pretty good as far as I remember. Now all “standard beer” is 5% or more.

Drink is silly cheap, £18 for 54 cans of beer at Tesco pre Christmas. It is cheaper than bottled water.



So what can be done? Personally some self-discipline is required, but what would be good is an encouragement to reduce the abv on all drink. Beer can be tasty at 4% or less so lets get back to that. Maybe introduce extra tax for high strength items. For beer it would be 5% or more and wine maybe 13% or more.


Conversly both my daughters are now at an age where my friends and I were regularly meeting at the pub. We drunk at most 4 pints in the night but it was an important meeting place, especially when I had a girlfriend and that was the best place to be together. I do not recall either of my daughters having gone to the pub yet! Not that I want to encourage them but is does show a big change on habits. If their friends come round they stay in the house instead.

One worrying trend is hard spirits. Any teenager arriving at party with alcopops is widely ridiculed. Only neat Vodka, Gin or the like has any street cred these days. Beer or Cider too has to be super strength hurl

Views, is it a problem that needs tackling?

Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: bockers] #1317985
20/02/2012 10:45
20/02/2012 10:45
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Originally Posted By: Bockers
Views, is it a problem that needs tackling?


Yes, very much so. It used to be, several years ago that on a Saturday night we'd target young drivers knowing we'd get a positive breath test but the government education seems (and I stress *seems*) to have had an impact. Nowadays it is the middle-aged driver, expensive/newer car that gets targeted and produces far more "hits". It's like the education missed them completely, or they think we haven't noticed a change in the demographic.

Strangely enough, and maybe straying off-topic slightly, but in our area, the new licensing hours actually helped! It has reduced the numbers on the street "all at once", which means resources aren't stretched trying to deal with a flood, we're now dealing with a trickle effect, which is easier. Having said that, I totally agree that pricing/promotions need to be dealt with and supermarkets need to take some of the blame there. Far too often we're intercepting people on their way to the clubs already smashed because they've been drinking cheap supermarket booze at home before heading out.

When the government starts to waken up to the tax income potential of the alcohol industry they'll change things but in the process people will shout about redundancies etc, and I can fully understand that especially in the current economic climate.

Until we as a people develop sensible attitudes towards drinking we'll never win this battle, and no amount of legislation or taxation will solve it. The change has to come from individuals and society and peer-group pressure.


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Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: bockers] #1317987
20/02/2012 10:49
20/02/2012 10:49

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Quote:
This IS worrying, I enjoy a drink and I don’t want to have to stop.

Could this not be down to habit though?

Ever wonder why there are some weirdos jogging around at 6am on a Sunday? It's usually becuase they have gotten into the habit of doing this and if they DONT do it their body doesnt reward them with the chemicals they have come to expect.

You have substituted body chemicals with artificial ones, and gotten into the habit that they are the 'reward' at the end of a day's work.

Reprogramming your brain is both very difficult to do intentionally, and incredibly easy to do unintentionally!

/preach

Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: bockers] #1317993
20/02/2012 11:08
20/02/2012 11:08

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I also enjoy a drink in the evening when I get home from work. However I realised that it was adding up and now don't drink at home during the week at all. Combining that with some exercise helps. I think this is one occasion where the over-used phrase "it's a slippery slope" actually applies.

Jim

Last edited by jim3; 20/02/2012 11:09.
Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: bockers] #1318006
20/02/2012 11:29
20/02/2012 11:29
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I don't think it matters what level of taxation they put in it, people will drink just the same as they continue to smoke.
If people want to get blind drunk on supermarket alcohol that's there choice, by all means educate people to make them aware of the health risks but the state stepping in again to make things more expensive smacks of nanny state again.

I'm not a massive drinker, I enjoy a evening out with friends or a sunday night in with a roast and beer. why should I be penalised because others do this to excess?

Im sorry but I think the hole thing is a none issue, I may change my mind after watching the program but I still firmly believe if people don't want to listen to sound medical advice then that's squally in there ball park, not mine

Last edited by samsite999; 20/02/2012 11:31.
Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: samsite999] #1318013
20/02/2012 12:00
20/02/2012 12:00

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I suppose being a Warehouse Manager for a massive brewing company I have a vested and special interest in this subject. First things first, I notice both Bockers and Stan acknowledge the need for self-restraint and that is key to this, as Truffle also touches on. Why middle class/middle aged people don't exercise this option, only they can answer.

Secondly there's a very good reason why our kids now choose to drink from home, and that's the £4 - £5 a drink they're being charged in the trendy pubs and clubs they want to attend. So the counter argument for increasing tax on alcohol and particularly beer is that the kids will seek out ever stronger alcohol which gives better value, and allows them to still go to town/pubs and still end up bladdered. This is why they choose 13% wine or 40% vodka in my opinion. We should applaud the kids' for reducing their drink drive incidences.

Currently the brewery i work for makes around 2p per pint profit and this is largely due to supermarket pressures and the amount of excise duty paid, which i believe accounts for some 40% of the overall cost. You're pushing against an open door if you want the brewery industry to reduce strengths of alcohol - the weaker it is the less excise duty you pay, but market forces suggest this isn't what the market wants.

Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: bockers] #1318018
20/02/2012 12:15
20/02/2012 12:15
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Chertsey in the Thames
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Actually I agree with Proccy, IMHO drinks should be cheaper in licenced premises than you could buy them from at home. I have witnessed the teanagers of today dosing up on spirit prior to going out too and it is quite alarming how much they will cram down in an hour.

In my youth drinking at home was seen as weird and a sign of a true alcoholic. I only ever drunk at the pub and as publicans (rather than the current "pub managers" ) were monitoring us we never got hammered as we would lose a drinking venue. However back then beer from cans was horrid and was priced similar to a pint at the pub. There was no contest where I would rather drink.

Yes also habit has an effect on my drinking. Start drinking at home and say you will only drink at the weekend and the weekend then starts on a thursday, all too soon it ends on a wednesday. I now only drink when we are out and consequently have not had a drink in 2 weeks, and can't say i miss it much either. But I do know that I could have a galss of wine on Friday and then polish of the remainder of the bottle before 7pm.

Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: bockers] #1318019
20/02/2012 12:15
20/02/2012 12:15
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I have an idea, please feel free to tell me how stupid this is.

Lower tax on pub/bar/eatery/club alcohol off set this with a rise in supermarket alcohol. Now you have made it more attractive for people wanting to drink to do so in a open environment, more people spending money in pubs and clubs = money distributed from wealthy body's like supermarkets in to local places that employ local people.
supermarkets will continue to trade and the small local pubs that are going under every few seconds may stay open.

I suppose you have the problem with drink driving then though so there are issues.

If the government must stick its noise in, I think the above isn't a bad solution....what would be far more effective however is it being seen as socially exceptionable to be pissed in public.

This isnt a new problem, people have been drinking to excess for a very verly long time

Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: samsite999] #1318021
20/02/2012 12:40
20/02/2012 12:40
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mmm the tax on alcohol issue. I would rather know why I can pay nearly as much for an alcohol free mixer as I do for a tot of spirit? I recently paid £4 for a pint of orange juice and (dispensed) lemonade. Not much alcohol duty involved there.

I don't see savings would be passed to the punter.

As for the drinking at home issue, apart from cost, perhaps for some people that's because they can enjoy a fag with their drink, instead of being banished outside all weathers?

Perhaps Government should stop worrying about my health. If I want to I will, if I don't then no amount of legislation will make me (even prohibition was a spectacular failure).

Incidentally, how many of the young who pass breathtests are tested for drugs? A good few of the nippers I know who drink little have an alternative method of altering their reality state.


"RK's way seems the most sensible to me". ali_hire 16 Dec 2010
Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: Roadking] #1318022
20/02/2012 12:44
20/02/2012 12:44
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Why tax us even more ?

As we are adults we are in charge of how much we drink, I have drunk at home in varying quantities for years.

The last thing we need is even more tax !

If people want to kill themselves drinking, so be it - same goes for bacon butties, mcdonalds, cakes, lack of exercise, smoking, dangerous sports, drugs, etc.


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Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: bockers] #1318025
20/02/2012 13:21
20/02/2012 13:21
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Originally Posted By: bockers
20 years ago and a bottle of red wine would have produced a killer of a hangover and I would not be fit for work the next day. Fast forward to now and I wake feeling perfectly normal, in fact it take a shed load of booze to induce a mere headache even.


Is that because you are older (and more accustomed to drinking) or are you saying that red wine is somehow different to the stuff produced 20 years ago ?


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Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: bockers] #1318028
20/02/2012 13:26
20/02/2012 13:26
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Chertsey in the Thames
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More accustomed I would say. Having not drunk for 4 months made no difference either. It seems alcoholic tolerance stays with you once gained. However some find it decreases with age crazy

Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: bockers] #1318031
20/02/2012 13:34
20/02/2012 13:34
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I think the core of the issue is the culture of drinking to get to a level of out-of-control drunkenness. There does seem to be a perception that you can't have a good time without a flagon of booze. This seems to be a very childish approach to me, and I struggle to understand the mentality. I'm not sure its something you encounter elsewhere, either - the Scandinavians and Australians can drink fearsome amounts when they want, but seem to be able to control it and stay non-confrontational. This is, of course, a huge generalisation.

This then pervades the rest of society - its socially acceptable to drink like that. So a bottle of wine at home in the evening is just a nice drink, and it sort of does not occur to you that its alcohol. And then you are dependent on it.

Back to the OP, is it something that needs tackling? Yes. But what I don't know is the answer. All the answers I've heard (putting the prices up, mostly) seems a terrible imposition on someone who drinks in moderation.

And RK is spot on - the price of non-alcoholic drinks in bars and restaurants is crazy - might be somewhere to start.


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Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: MCMike] #1318041
20/02/2012 14:10
20/02/2012 14:10

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jim3
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Originally Posted By: MCMike
Why tax us even more ?

As we are adults we are in charge of how much we drink, I have drunk at home in varying quantities for years.

The last thing we need is even more tax !

If people want to kill themselves drinking, so be it - same goes for bacon butties, mcdonalds, cakes, lack of exercise, smoking, dangerous sports, drugs, etc.



You'll end up paying more tax to fund treating these people though.

Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: ] #1318043
20/02/2012 14:27
20/02/2012 14:27

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Originally Posted By: jim3
Originally Posted By: MCMike
Why tax us even more ?

As we are adults we are in charge of how much we drink, I have drunk at home in varying quantities for years.

The last thing we need is even more tax !

If people want to kill themselves drinking, so be it - same goes for bacon butties, mcdonalds, cakes, lack of exercise, smoking, dangerous sports, drugs, etc.



You'll end up paying more tax to fund treating these people though.


And as I understand it, this is where the new ideas came from. Apparently the binge drinking culture is costing the NHS X amount of £'s and the cost involved with clearing up afterwards, sickness, breaking up brawls and repairing damage is costing Y amount.

(Please look up X & Y as they are bound to be on the web somewhere)

Its not so much about us, but about how much we are costing our services. (I say we, but in truth I vary rarely drink)

Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: Mansilla] #1318047
20/02/2012 14:33
20/02/2012 14:33

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Originally Posted By: Mansilla
I think the core of the issue is the culture of drinking to get to a level of out-of-control drunkenness. There does seem to be a perception that you can't have a good time without a flagon of booze. This seems to be a very childish approach to me, and I struggle to understand the mentality. I'm not sure its something you encounter elsewhere, either - the Scandinavians and Australians can drink fearsome amounts when they want, but seem to be able to control it and stay non-confrontational. This is, of course, a huge generalisation.


You touch on a point that I think is very relevant. I've always been of the belief that alcohol in no ways makes you more violent, or more promiscuous or anything else infact. I use to get very drunk but these thigns never happened to me, all it did for me was make me even happier. I've always been of the belief that alcohol makes you act in the way you already want to, or think that you should act. Come other cultures may have people getting as drunk as we do, but they don't have our problems and that can only be down to culture.

This article is a very interesting read I think http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15265317 .

Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: bockers] #1318110
20/02/2012 17:40
20/02/2012 17:40

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http://www.bmj.com/content/325/7357/191.full

I think that with drink, as with so many dietary and environmental factors, with the exception of smoking, things are exaggerated. You can see the true relative risks from this chart (fig.4).

Just to spell it out, for anyone over about 45 there is no net harm in drinking up to 30 units per week.


Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: bockers] #1318114
20/02/2012 17:53
20/02/2012 17:53

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You mean over 55.

Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: ] #1318118
20/02/2012 18:14
20/02/2012 18:14
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Originally Posted By: Turbo_Verde

This article is a very interesting read I think http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15265317 .


Interesting stuff - although it does directly contradict my own observations about the Scandinavians and Australians. Ho hum! Its also a bit off topic, so apologies for that.

I think I'd agree with the central point - behaviour when drunk is a result of social conditioning. I also agree with the observation about how Government tries to deal with antisocial drinking through drinkaware. I'm sorry, but trying to tell me 'the facts' - i.e. that having 3 pints will turn me into a puke-stained blood-streaked fighting machine - is nonsense. Warning people that 'they may not remember what they did' is precisely the excuse that people seek when attempting to justify their own behaviour.

However, thats not really relevant to the middle class middle age drinkers - I suspect Panorama won't be showing them fighting in the streets. On topic, I'll suggest that low-ish level work related stress is a major contributor.


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Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: ] #1318122
20/02/2012 18:31
20/02/2012 18:31

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Enforcer
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Originally Posted By: jim3
You mean over 55.


OK, well negligible harm at 30 units for over 45s, and I was referring to the men's chart.

Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: bockers] #1318214
20/02/2012 22:59
20/02/2012 22:59

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jim3
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Still an increased risk of dying (all causes) of 6% over non-drinkers though (19% for women). But I agree, it's the figures for the younger groups that are far more worrying.

Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: bockers] #1318217
20/02/2012 23:30
20/02/2012 23:30

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Even so, these statistics can seem a lot scarier than they should. look at Table 1 here.

http://www.medicine.ox.ac.uk/bandolier/booth/Risk/dyingage.html

Death rate for 45-54 yo is 1 in 279. Let's assume on the gloomy side that this applies specifically to 45s. Still the death rate for 45s who drink 30 units a week is going to be around 1 in 263. Would you think it worth changing your drinking habits to improve your chances of survival for the year from 278/279 to 262/263?

Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: bockers] #1318283
21/02/2012 09:14
21/02/2012 09:14

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jim3
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It's still ~6%, however you present the figures. And yes, I would, although it's a purely personal choice. Mainly because if I was regularly drinking 30 units per week at 45 I would be very concerned that that level would slowly increase to dependence.

Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: bockers] #1318287
21/02/2012 09:24
21/02/2012 09:24

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Fair enough. I am just saying that 6% of not very much is really not very much.

Thankfully (??) I am in the age band where it is an advantage (well, break-even, at least) to drink 30 units p.w.

drink




Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: bockers] #1318288
21/02/2012 09:40
21/02/2012 09:40
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Chertsey in the Thames
bockers Offline OP
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Well the Panorama program was rubbish. It seemed to concentrate on out and out alcoholics and not those who do not realise they are creeping towards that. I.e. the after work bootle of wine whilst you cook and then 2nd bottle whilst you eat.

It felt like a program made by ex drinkers all trying to stop the rest of us drinking because they can't. crazy

Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: bockers] #1318290
21/02/2012 09:55
21/02/2012 09:55

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It wasn't very good, no.

Apparently, according to AA or some similar body, it is a myth that drinking a lot turns you into an alcoholic. You become one for other reasons. Can't remember where I read that.


Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: ] #1318292
21/02/2012 10:06
21/02/2012 10:06
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It was absolute rubbish. Seemed to miss the point completely!



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Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: ] #1318295
21/02/2012 10:25
21/02/2012 10:25
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Roadking Offline
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As I understand it some people have a personality disorder which makes them susceptible to becoming an addict.

This goes some way to explaing my understanding or lack of, perhaps.

This would explain why some people can drink heavily but not need to, smoke the occasional fag, stick to soft drugs etc, while others become alcoholica, chain smokers, heavy drug users.


"RK's way seems the most sensible to me". ali_hire 16 Dec 2010
Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: bockers] #1318298
21/02/2012 10:33
21/02/2012 10:33
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After I split up from my first wife, I spent a few years not really regulating my drinking at all (not through anguish especially, just renewed opportunity) and developed a pretty high tolerance. Like Bockers, I could drink a bottle of wine a night and not notice. One reason I drink wine is that I have progressively found that beer gives me a hangover and bad stomach, even in strict moderation. These days I almost never darken the doors of a pub, but MrsC and I can easily get through nearly 2 bottles between us at home. It got to the point where we recognised it was an issue, so we cut out drinking for 2 then 3 now all midweek nights. And I have found my tolerance has plummeted! If I try to drink the same quantity on a Friday as before, I feel rough as the next morning.
If there is a special occasion (and I don't mean the opening of a window!), we can break the rule, but generally we stick to it and feel better - and it saves us a fair bit of money. Unchecked, I think it could have become a problem pretty quickly.

Re: Alcohol law reforms - middle class/age drinkers [Re: bockers] #1318300
21/02/2012 10:37
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After watching it I was annoyed and disappointed.
The assumption that any one who enjoys a drink is on a slippery slope to alcohol dependency is silly, as others have said it was all about ex drinkers and imop who perhaps had a predisposed addiction issue before they ever got to alcohol.

The program was very much a teaching grandma to suck eggs feature.

Last edited by samsite999; 21/02/2012 10:38.
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