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|UK: The Boozing Nation|
|Written by Cindy-Lou Dale|
|Sunday, 14 December 2008 05:47|
Learning to drink was once a rite of passage, a stepped experience, a pathway from childhood to adulthood. Learning to drink had to be worked on because there weren't any drinks targeted at you. In other words, booze tasted pretty nasty and you had to acquire a taste for it, or face the embarrassment of ordering a Snowball, the 13-year old girls' favorite consisting of Advocaat and lemonade. But you don't need to acquire a taste for alcopops with names such as Thickhead and Buzz; there's banana-flavored Super Milch and Dr Thirsty's Strong Orange Punch and something worrying called Beetlejuice. None of these is less than 4.9 per cent alcohol and some of them--Strong Cider Shock, sold in a light bulb-shaped bottle, or TNT, which looks like a stick of dynamite--are 8.4 per cent.
Alcohol does have an important place in society and brings many benefits. Over 90% of the adult population in the UK drink. The majority do so with no problems, most of the time. It accounts for a substantial section of the economy -- the value of the alcoholic drinks market is more than £30bn per annum and it is estimated that around one million jobs are linked to it.
We cannot cast blame for UK's alcohol problem on cheap booze or bars. We cannot point a finger at the drinks industry who encourages youth with cheap booze. It's not the media's fault either, nor the government. This is the result of a gradual failing of authority in the home, fuelled by the lack of discipline at school.
It may be time that we turn the accusing finger to ourselves as we have become a society lacking in family values and morals, one without discipline.