Various solutions have been suggested for tackling Scotland’s “alcohol problem”, each of which skirts around the core issue: the social acceptability of drunkenness.
No amount of price fixing, education programmes, night buses and health advice can solve the problem while entering into a state of severely diminished responsibility, ability and self-control is regarded as a normal leisure activity.
In choosing to become drunk, one chooses to risk harming, emotionally or physically, oneself, one’s family, and other people in the vicinity, possibly entailing significant expense to the state in the process. Half of Scottish adult prisoners and 77 per cent of young offenders were drunk at the time of their offence.
In addition, the loud mouthed and intimidating behaviour of many drunks prevents other people enjoying their environs and contributes to the coarsening and degrading of our society.
“Almost half of children have seen parents drunk” (your report 21 October). Sadly, the most common responses will be “so what?”, or “they really shouldn’t let the children see it”.
Apathy or hypocrisy.
Until we can respond to this issue with principle, chaos and pain will continue to ensue.
We have some big questions to ask ourselves, including why it is so normal for people to get drunk, why they feel compelled to do so, and why drinkers feel those who don’t are odd.