Thames Valley Police ponder strong alcohol ban. Can prohibition work?
A scheme to limit the sale of super strength lagers could be coming to town centres in the Thames Valley. It follows the launch of a voluntary scheme in Ipswich where around half the town’s shops have agreed to remove strong lager and cider from shelves. Thames Valley Police neighbourhood teams are already considering whether the scheme could work.
According to London charity Thames Reach, super strength alcohol kills more homeless people than heroin or crack cocaine. Spokesman Mike Nicholas said: “A single can of 9% lager contains a massive four and a half units of alcohol. It only takes one can to exceed the government’s daily recommended safe alcohol limit of three to four units for men and two to three units for women.”
Ian Caren, of Reading charity Launchpad, said: “With the sale of super strength lager, you are giving very vulnerable people the ability to damage themselves considerably.”
Henry Ashworth, chief executive of Portman Group, which operates a code of practice for the drinks industry, said “it was questionable whether removing the drinks from shelves was the best way to help people who misused alcohol”.
Is it beyond the comprehension of the scheme operators to think that people would travel to an area where the scheme is not in operation to acquire cheap alcohol?
Simon Stephens, Director of Case Work at Addictions UK said that he agrees with the CEO of the Portman Group. “If a person is determined to drink strong alcohol they will find a means of purchasing the product. There is a great difference between those who drink heavily and those people who are pathologically dependent on alcohol. Accessible Addiction Treatment Services must be made available to people with addictions to alcohol”.
For further details of the report see www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-20039814
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