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Christian charities welcome lower drinking rates

by Aaron James

Specifically, the amount of 16-44-year-olds binge-drinking at least once a week fell from 29% in 2005 to 18% in 2013.

In the same period and age bracket, the amount of frequent drinkers fell by two thirds.

More than one in five people in Britain now classify themselves as teetotal. An expert from the Alcohol Health Alliance says this is because of Britain's changing ethnic mix, with an increasing number of Muslim and other religions and cultures, but also because some people underestimate how much they drink.

Marolin Watson, from the Christian drug and alcohol charity Hope UK, told Premier's News Hour: "There's certainly been a dramatic reduction amongst young people of not only binge-drinking but frequent drinking, and that is really good news.

"Whether we've actually turned a corner or not remains to be seen because alcohol consumption is still costing the NHS in the region of three-point-five billion pounds every year... if it's part of culture to drink heavily that does tend to get picked up, by young people as well.

"But it would be nice to think that culture was gradually changing, and cultures do change."

And Kevin Woods, from the Christian alcohol education charity Arcade, tells Premier: "It's really important that good quality life-skills-based alcohol and drug education puts off the age of experimentation amongst young people.

"It's really important from a family point of view that parents take responsibility... because most young people get alcohol either in the home, or supplied by friends.

"The other thing is that we need to make sure that there is a really good diversionary youth activity program available...

"We just need to be aware that the more people that we can get to consider their alcohol consumption, hopefully we'd see lesser problems with anti-social behaviour and the less of a need to provide booze buses... before they get to A and E."

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