The Demon Booze

The number of alcohol-related hospital admissions has increased by almost a third in just two years as 24-hour drinking laws and the greater availability of cheap alcohol lead to increased consumption.

So people are doing as they wish, perhaps to their own detriment.

Based on data from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, these admissions cost the NHS almost £90,000 a day – or more than £32 million a year.

Given that revenues from booze duty are in the billions of pounds a year, people are paying for the external effects of their actions.

The problem is what? Free people are, after all, free to decide how they want to kill themselves, are they not?

4 thoughts on “The Demon Booze”

  1. My suspicion is that yet again it is the way the numbers are counted – in the good old days you could go into get your head bandaged without the quack asking if you had been partaking, now any accident howsoever caused that involves some who has had a drink is classified as “drink related”.

  2. I can’t agree with TW’s implication that alcohol and tobacco are morally equivalent.

    I agree that adults should be allowed to harm themselves as they wish, and I also believe that the health risks of ‘passive smoking’ are very small.

    But the problem with alcohol in the UK is binge drinking. Bingeing is not common in more southern latitudes such as Portugal – probably binge drinking is in some way caused by extreme latitude.

    Probably, in my opinion, binge drinking will turn out to be related to some kind of pathology similar to seasonal affective disorder.

    And binge drinking leads to most of the very severe externalities of alcohol. These externalities are not in monetary costs, but in human and social terms – about half of road traffic accident deaths, about half of the significant incidents of violence, and probably an even higher proportion of suicide attempts.

    My solution would be a liberal one – to legalize and allow access to safer drugs that have fewer antisocial externalities than binge drinking – such as marijuana.

  3. Let us not forget, in this season of goodwill to all men, that in the UK the National Health Service is primarily funded by the revenues from alcohol and tobacco.

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