Tuesday, 24 August 2010

David Nutt solves the Alcohol problem.

Remember when Professor David Nutt stuck his head above the parapet and said that some drugs where safer than horseriding? Of course we all thought he meant that drugs should be decriminalised. What he, of course, meant was that horseriding should be banned. For our own good, of course.

It seems the good professor is quite the puritain when it comes to alcohol. So I take back the nice things I said about him. Here's his 21 point action plan for the ancient problem of people getting drunk. There's no link, because he won't allow a link here in the comments. You'll have to find his drivel yourself or if you can't be bothered, I've cut and pasted his 'ideas' here.

1. Make alcohol a national health priority: current estimates are that the damage from alcohol costs the NHS the order of £20bn per year and the violence it induces cost £7billion in police time.
From whence these estimates? Anyone admitted to A&E with any alcohol in their blood, whether or not this had anything to do with their admission, just like Road Traffic stats?
2. Tax according to alcohol content since alcohol is the dangerous drug in drinks. Everyone accepts the rationality of this between alcohol classes – e.g. sherry is taxed more than beer and less than spirits, so there is a precedent that could easily be brought into action. A can of 8% lager should cost twice that of a 4% one and 4 times that of a 2% one. This was planned by the last Labour government and the coalition missed a real opportunity to make a statement about alcohol harms by not increasing the tax in this way despite their manifesto commitment.
Why should a 4% can of lager cost twice as much as a 2% can? I can see the logic of a progressive taxation, but this would make wine, that facet of the Mediterranean cafe culture we're all supposed to emulate, prohibitively expensive. He's not thought this through.
3. Increase alcohol tax to bring the cost of alcohol in real terms back to where it was in the 1950s before the progressive rise in consumption started, i.e. gradually, say over 5 years, triple the price. All available evidence shows that the price of alcohol determines use for almost everyone with the only possible exceptions being severely dependent drinkers. The increased health burden of alcohol is largely driven by non-dependent drinkers so would be significantly reduced by an increase in price. I have estimated that the average taxpayer would save the order of £2,000 per year by the reduced costs of alcohol-related harms if we increased the price as suggested. In the case of wine drinkers, only those consuming more than several hundred bottles a year would be worse off with this scheme, and they are drinking at a dangerous level anyway.
Everything except land, gold and whores are cheaper relative to incomes than they were in the '50s. It's called 'getting richer' and it's a good thing, David. You stick to the psychopharmacology, and leave the Economics to people who understand it.
4. Stop selling strong alcohol in supermarkets; use the Swedish model where only alcoholic drinks of less than 3% can be sold outside licensed shops that have more limited opening times than supermarkets. Supermarket alcohol sales are not only destroying lives but also public houses and other alcohol outlets where drinking is conducted in a social manner and where intoxication can be monitored and young people can learn to drink socially and more sensibly.
Because problem drinking is UNHEARD OF in Scandinavia. Clearly we should emulate their drink policies.
5. Ban special discounting of alcohol in bars e.g. happy hours, all you can drink for £10 etc.
I've no problem with cracking down on establishments which cause a problem, and I've no doubt this correlates with happy hours, but it is unlikely that this correlation is perfect. Try enforcing existing laws before banning a perfectly reasonable marketing ploy by bar owners. How about enforcing the law about serving clearly intoxicated people? Wouldn't that work.... Puritanism is the nagging fear that someone, somewhere is having fun. I think you just revealed that here, David.
6. Stop selling wine in larger 250 ml glasses that have crept up on use in recent years - we should go back to smaller glasses again. For a medium size female, 5 large glasses of wine in one hour will lead to a blood alcohol level of 300mg/% which is that needed to produce coma.
Oh for Pity's sake. Where to start with this one. I've been to the pub with many, many ladies over the years, and I've often bought them large white wines in 250ml glasses. Not one, ever has ever slumped into an alcoholic coma. Perhaps you should stop adding the Rohypnol, or would that stop you ever getting laid?
7. Repeal the 24 hr licensing law so bars close at 11pm.
Fuck off, you miserable, bloodless Puritan wanker. I would quite like to be able to stay in my local, drinking a few pints with my buddies until midnight on Friday nights, if that's OK with you?
8. Ban organisations such as Carnage UK that promote dangerous levels of drinking as entertainment
If they cause a problem, why not enforce existing laws first?
9. Make it a law that all alcohol outlets must sell non-alcoholic beers and lagers so that those who like the taste of ales can get it without the risk on intoxication. Make these drinks be sold at below the cost of equivalent alcohol-containing ones and make it obvious that they are available.
mmm. Alcohol free lager. Yes please! Not. Been tried. No-one likes it. Go away. This end up being a mandatory few bottles in the fridge, replaced only when they go out of date, and never, ever drunk by anyone. Just another silly, pointless law.
10. Enforce the law that makes serving drunk customers illegal in bars: have breathalysers in bars and clubs so that seemingly intoxicated people can be tested and denied more alcohol if they are above 150mg/%.
This would go a long way to limiting the harm of binge drinking. Why not try that at #1 before banning stuff for those of us who don't cause problems?
11. Add warning notices to all drinks warning of the damage alcohol does, as with those on cigarette packets.
Oh ffs. Go Away. Leave us the fuck alone. Stop fucking nagging us. You cunt. We drink to excess because cunts like you piss us off. Capish?
12. Reduce the drink driving limit to 40mg/% to deter drink driving and hence reduce drinking. And if caught, get people properly assessed and repeal their licences if they flout DVLA guidance. Encourage the wider use of alcohol detectors in cars.
We've the safest roads in Europe, despite their being the most crowded. We've lower levels of drink driving despite drinking more than many others. Everyone should be copying us. Stupid idea.
13. Invigorate the treatment of alcohol dependence by making alcohol a priority for the national treatment agency; encourage the use of proven treatments that reduce drinking and stop relapse.
Get alchies to dry up and medicalise addiction. Sound point there, at #13.
14. Provide incentives to the pharmaceutical industry to develop new treatments for alcohol dependence and its consequences.
#14 can't hurt either. What are the incentives: a tax break. Wouldn't you see AIDs or Malaria as being more deserving though? Doesn't this show warped priorities?
15. Encourage research into developing an alcohol alternative that is less dangerous, intoxicating and addictive than ethanol and for which an antidote or antagonist can be made available to prevent deaths in overdose.
I'm sure there are plenty of people who'd rather a line or two of coke than a pint of the Nutt's gnat's piss 'ale', but I suspect that's not what you had in mind, is it David?
16. Educate from primary school age about the dangers of alcohol.
Make alcohol glamorous for kids. Good Idea. What could possibly go wrong?
17. Develop public campaigns to make alcohol unfashionable just as was done for tobacco.
None of the pretty girls I know smoke. Not one. NoSireee. Smoking isn't fashionable. Not at all.
18. Ban all alcohol advertising as with tobacco.
Fine. Take money out of sport and new programming. All we'll ever have on TV are American sitcoms. Good Idea.
19. Ban all government supported organisations e.g. universities from having subsidised bars. Ban drinking games and pub-crawls in public organisations such as university sports and social clubs; remove financial support from clubs that allow these.
I'll tell you what: You try and stop Exeter Agrics 2nd XV going on their annual pub golf tournament. How, just how will this be enforced? Fuckwit.
20. Raise the drinking age to 21. When this was done in the USA in the 1990s it was estimated that over 170,00 lives were saved in road deaths.
1. I dispute the figures. 2. It's catastrophically illiberal. You can send an 18 year old to face AK47s in Afghanistan, but not let him face B52s in Bar Khyber? Madness. It's madness in the USA, and it will be worse here. Knob.
21. Finally, a measure that could be a powerful tool in the implementation of the above would be to reduce the use of alcohol by politicians as it could distort their objectivity in law-making in relation to the harms of alcohol. Get them to openly declare any association with the alcohol industry. The government’s wine cellar should be closed and the subsidy of alcohol in the Houses of Parliament stopped. Somehow though, it seems unlikely that MPs would call time on that particular perk…
I see what you did there, David. A knowing wink at the policy makers. I'll tell you what. You've got 3 or maybe 4 out of 21. Fail. No wonder even the last government thought you were an idiot and fired your sorry arse.

Ban, Ban, Ban, interfere with the market, Ban, nanny, stop, plan.

Here's my plan for you, David, and anyone else thinking of interfering with my free time. LEAVE. ME. ALONE.


The Fatch said...

If these ideas were to come into law it would immediately lead to the deaths of 10-15 people and those are just the ones who came to my home brew party. Given my attempt to red bull at home smelt life smoke and could be used in place of superglue on Air-fix I have no doubt my home made spirits would be highly toxic.

Fascist Hippy said...

Alcohol problem my ass. We don't have an alcohol problem, or many other problems come to that. What we have in Britain is a lack of discipline and fucking 'CHAV' problem, remove them and teach people what respect means and most of the anti-social problems will disappear.

Rightwinggit said...

Site still fucked.

Surreptitious Evil said...

Apart from the medical fascism of it all ..

19: How do you define "government supported"? Does this prevent the Guardian having alcohol at its Christmas dinner? That'll go down well. Also, University social clubs aren't "public organisations". Try joining one if you don't have the right student or staff card ...

JimmyGiro said...

Of course, if you are a scientist, who is known to be working on drugs that induce an 'alcohol alternative' high, then it is in your financial interest, regarding future markets, to destroy the traditional competition.

It's not proof of his motives, but just saying.

Alix said...

Christ. What is it with public experts and their inability to stick to what they know? I remember seeing some cheese on the British Medical Council passing similar social comment on the Lambrini advert when he quite clearly should have stopped talking after the medical input. (But, but, but small girls might start dancing! And then where would we be!)

Anyway, I am in fact prepared to defend the first half of 19:

"Ban all government supported organisations e.g. universities from having subsidised bars."

He couches it in "ban" terms because he can't stop saying the word "ban" (I imagine he thinks this is how most public discourse is conducted, which is what you'd think if your diet was BBC/tabloids/Telegraph, say). But actually it wouldn't be a ban, it would be removing a subsidy, and a bit of a dumb one in a supposed age of austerity. Hard lines on the students, of course, but I'd rather just not put their fees up instead.

Anonymous said...

Let's make alcahol more expensive to get than already available drugs.


elflojo84 said...

So the first half of 19 is a good idea, the rest is neutral at best and mostly offensive crap. Nto a godo hit rate!
As if to make up for it, the second half od 19 is the most iliberal of the lot. "Ban drinking games and pub-crawls in public organisations such as university sports and social clubs". I mean, what the fuck? As well as all the measures designed to restrict how much calcohol I can get my hands on you are then going to try and control HOW I drink it?? If I want to sip a pint quietly over 45 minutes, that's my business. If I want to sink the whole damn thing in 3 seconds because I accidently called my friend by his first name, that's my fucking business too.

David, loved your work on ecstacy. Hate your work on alcohol. Have a peanut...

Dick Puddlecote said...

Top article, Jackart. The Professor's surname is apt indeed.

Anonymous said...

Let me think. We make alcohol really expensive and binge drinkers stop being a pain. I can see the smugglers and organised crime rubbing its hands. The blokes a complete idiot.

Anyhoo - I thought we already had laws to stop drunkeness or is that too simple?

In the day, drunkeness was pretty rife 40 years ago when I was a student. The plain fact is some people have and always will get pissed and start being a pain.

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