Too many off-licences are to blame for under-age drinking and hospital admissions

September 5, 2011

No, really? If there are more off-licences in any given area then the number of under age drinkers and hospital admissions as a result is higher than the average, according to a report carried out by the lobby group, Alcohol Concern.

A recent report links off-licences to drinking

The national UK average for off-license density is 63 per 100,000 of the population, dropping to as low as 27 in Malvern Hills – where getting a drink on a Sunday or after 8pm is as easy as swallowing swords – and rising as high as 117 in Salford where there are more off-licences than houses. The studies’ main conclusion is that more off-licences equates to more drinking. So, there are more hospital admissions to under 18s as a result of drinking alcohol in Salford than there are in Malvern Hills. The report didnt say if there are more tennis and country club inscriptions in Malvern Hills than the estates of Salford.

Not the worlds most astute conclusion ever, we are sure you will agree. Take The Blame™ could have come to the same conclusion without spending 17 truckloads of money on research. Its pretty self-explanatory one would have thought. More chip shops in a street, people eat more chips in said street. More tattoo parlours in a town, more tattoos adorning the arms of those who live there. More booze shops equals more binge-drinking kids on the street corners and dark alleyways on a Friday night equals more hospital admissions. Because drunk people do stupid, reckless and dangerous things.

One has only to think of young, under age adolescents. Come the weekend – and increasingly, come day light hours – they want alcohol; they want to binge drink. If you are under age and live in Malvern Hills then alcohol intoxication becomes a problem if the only off-licence for miles around refuses to believe your fake ID and categorically refuses to serve you. In Salford the same problem can be overcome by walking a few hundred yards and trying again. And again. And again, until a landlord is found who doesn’t give a crap how old you are. Let drinking commence. The report, in a roundabout way, examines the mindset of underage drinkers. A stubborn lot whose desire for the amber nectar is matched only by their disdain for soft drinks and history books.

The obvious. It's researched you know.

According to the report, for every 2 off-licences per 100,000 of the population, 1 under 18 was admitted to hospital for alcohol poisoning between 2005 and 2009. A rights of passage has now become a damning statistic in the fight against the bottle. To quote Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern and Friday night killjoy for many a 17-year old,

It is a sobering thought that the numbers of off-licences in any one area has an impact on under-18s drinking and ending up in hospital. It is a failing of the current system that so many licences are being granted without due consideration to young people’s health</em>.”

The Alcohol Concern commissioned study highlights the dangers of too many off-licences in any one town and calls for local authorties to have more control over the setting up and awarding of licences in a bid to try and curb hospital admissions amongst the young.

Local licensing committees are currently operating with one arm tied behind their backs. Current licensing legislation does not give licensing committees enough power to restrict the high density of licensed premises

Take The Blame™ would like to take the blame for the lack of Off-licences in Malvern Hills and highlight a study whose conclusion that In general, as the density of off-licences in an area increases, so do alcohol specific [hospital] admissions as being rather obvious.

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