Monday, September 01, 2008

Drunk and impoverished

Hands up anyone who is not by now sick of encountering drunks in public? The main problem remains that moderate drinking is widely regarded as socially acceptable as long as no driving is involved, and that the legless are in some strange way, amusing.

A radical solution is required that wastes minimal police time, so how about anyone that wants to "drink heavily" must buy an alcohol consumption licence for £250 from their local A&E counter, and forfeits it automatically if found at A&E or otherwise anywhere in public creating a nuisance with more than 100mg/100ml of alcohol in their blood. The driving limit is 40mg, so 100mg is pretty generous. And even if they are not up to the 100mg limit, any suggestion of drink-related nuisance would mean suspension of licence for 3 months.

All those taking out such a licence to enable them to get inebriated would be required to say so on any insurance form or job application, and that register would be available for checking. Normal "social drinkers" would get a free photo ID "purchase pass" (paid for by the booze industry) - and the age of buying alcohol goes up to 21.

Then anyone "unlicensed" found in public or at A&E with more than 50mg of alcohol pays a £250 NI surcharge as an attachment on earnings if necessary, plus a further £50 per 10mg over the limit, plus loss of the alcohol purchase card for 3 months. We won't call it a fine, and we'll just pay it straight to the local hospital A&E without deductions. For all those are under the age of 18, their parents get the option to pay or let them be sent to boot camp for a week of rehab.

But if you want to drink yourselves to death in private or the comfort of your own home or a friend's house, then please be our guest and just get on with it as quietly as possible. However, should you overdo things to the extent that you ended up in the care of the NHS, then get your credit card ready, or if you can't afford to pay for the consequences of your "problem", then keep a suitcase ready and packed for the 3 months you will be spending in secure rehab

And before you ask, a similar system could be adapted to work for drug users quite easily.

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