Arrest the drunks

I agree with Andrew Haughney (Letters, 22 May) that a more effective way for the government to deal with problem drinking, rather than a simple price increase, would be to dust off the statute book and see if the offence of being “drunk and disorderly” still exists.

While it is at it, it might also look at “drunk and incapable” and advice for bar-persons who are inclined to serve clients who are already drunk. If these regulations were vigorously enforced, as they once were, then our city centres would be safer places and accident and emergency wards would not resemble battlefields at weekends.

The government, and some correspondents who agree with the new pricing plan, point to the reduction that has been achieved in the number of people who smoke, as the price of cigarettes steadily rises. But they overlook a couple of important factors which destroy their analogy: firstly, recent increases in the price of tobacco have come along with the smoking ban in public buildings, and this has been the tipping-point for most smokers who have quit, certainly many that I know.

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Secondly, the smokers who have given up have done so principally because they wanted to.

The problem drinkers who regard it as a necessity to get drunk to have a good night out do not want to give up, and if they need to find a few extra quid for a “good weekend”, it will be done, one way or another. The problem is one of culture, not price.

Walter J Allan

Colinton Mains Drive

Edinburgh