Drop in binge drinking despite controversial 24-hour law

drinking patterns. The later closing times coupled with aggressive alcohol discounting in grocery stores has led to more people ‘pre-loading’ — drinking at home before going out to bars and clubs when already intoxicated.

Despite agreeing that the 24-hour drinking laws did not have a major impact on booze consumption rates, Nicholls believes binge drinking is still a significant problem.

“The news media understandably emphasize the horror stories, which can give a distorted impression of their prevalence,” he said. “Nevertheless, despite the fall in youth consumption there remain widespread problems of disorder in many towns and cities at night, and among older drinkers, heavy consumption creates an array of health risks.”

Nicholls said the price of alcohol is one of the main factors in binge drinking and he hopes to see that idea explored further if an upcoming court ruling is made.

“Drinkers are responsive to price and very cheap alcohol is widely available,” he added. “The U.K. Supreme Court is about to rule on the legality of minimum unit pricing in Scotland. If that goes ahead we will have a unique opportunity to see whether setting a floor price for alcohol can have a measurable effect on rates of consumption overall and heavy consumption in particular.”