Our Drink Problem

Our Jenny is getting wound up by all the sloppy, misinformed reporting and complacent references by politicians of all brands to ‘those of us who drink responsibly.’ Jenny knows better than most. She’s been leading Cyrenians Getting the Measure programme, funded for 3 years by Comic Relief to find ways of improving our charity’s ability to be knowledgeable and effective around alcohol.

‘I think there are a lot of powerful messages around at the moment to maintain the idea that drinking is ‘someone else’s’ problem,’ says Jenny. ‘In pure health terms, I wonder how many journalists or politicians actually ‘drink responsibly’ and within safe levels? Financial security, strong social networks, a good home and a good diet may help to shield many people from the obvious impacts of excessive drinking, but in pure health terms the underlying physical damage may still be happening.’

I asked Jenny to imagine in 10 years we look back on changed attitudes and behaviour around alcohol in the same way that in 2010 we might look back in dismay at that towards tobacco products in years gone by?

‘How would Scotland look in the future, after some more progressive policies? It would probably be a society where alcohol wasn’t sold in supermarkets more cheaply than water, where young people and adults could access other things to do both cheaply and easily on a Friday night and where we were all a bit better informed and a little less defensive about our relationship with alcohol.’


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