David Cameron Proposes US-Style Drunk Tanks as Strategy to Cut Alcohol Abuse in UK

By Lisa Franchi on February 15, 2012

People who are caught inebriated will be detained in the cells called “drunk tanks” until they get sober, proposes David Cameron.

Think of this. You hang out with your friends in a Saturday evening. There were foods and beers all over and it was a great time. You got carried away and drank bottle by bottle of beer. It’s past twelve and you need to go home. But before that, police patrollers got you by the hand. The next thing you know, you’re in a cell. You have no choice but wait until the sun rises – when you’re finally feeling okay.

Drunk Tanks to Prevent Binge Drinking

David Cameron describes alcohol abuse as the “scandal of our society” and right now, he’s very determined to deal with it. The Prime Minister wishes to find a good way to cut alcohol dependence in Britain by adopting the American “drunk tanks” which will house smashed individuals until they sober up. Through this, arrests and accidents could be avoided. They will also enhance police visibility and get more paramedics who will assist drunken people inside the tank. According to Cameron, the Britain’s drinking culture is costing the NHS whopping more than £2.7 billion a year.

Alcohol abuse has caused premature losses, accidents, property damages, alcohol-related accidents, and illnesses. The health problems caused by binge drinking alone accounts for 12% of the annual spending of the NHS. Just last year, there were 40,000 hospital admissions which constitute 40% increase in the past eight years.

Minimum Pricing on Alcohol Drinks

Other than establishing “drunk tanks”, the British Government also plans to put a minimum price in the cost of alcohol drinks as part of the big bang approach. The idea was formed after consulting with different organisations and regional officials. The drink industry will not like it but majority of the health charities are happy about it. In Merseyside, 50p per unit of alcohol will be proposed. The details of this strategy haven’t been discussed yet but it has received positive feedbacks all over UK. The same was proposed by the Liverpool City Region Poverty and Life Chances Commission. In Scotland, alcohol drinks are already expensive but the local government still wishes to establish minimum pricing though they still need to seek permission from the European Union. But according to Ann Milton, Westminister’s public health minister, the EU will have no problem approving the strategy and making such legislation as it does not contravene with the EU free trade. Several councils in England, including Merseyside and Greater Manchester are considering legislations to set the minimum pricing. In connection with this, a study revealed that a minimum price of 30p per unit of alcohol can prevent 300 deaths while 40p and 50p would prevent 1,000 and 2,000 deaths each year.

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