‘Alcohol is the thread for many problems’

The council plans to crackdown on shops that sell alcohol to underage kids.*PICTURE POSED BY MODEL*'Underage children buying Bacardi Breezers from off-licence
The council plans to crackdown on shops that sell alcohol to underage kids.*PICTURE POSED BY MODEL*'Underage children buying Bacardi Breezers from off-licence

THE Scottish Borders Alcohol Profile, the first of its kind to be compiled, shows that far from being something only done youngsters, binge drinking knows no age boundaries.

The report, which takes in April 2010-August 2012, contains the worrying statistic that 27% of males and 20% of females (slightly higher than female Scottish average) are drinking to hazardous or harmful levels and that nearly a quarter of all reported incidents of anti-social behaviour in the Borders had alcohol as a catalyst.

Predictably Berwickshire towns and villages aren’t the worst offenders with regard to alcohol-related anti-social behaviour, but as with other locations throughout the Borders, alcohol-aggrevated disorder is still a thorn in the side of a number of communities.

Eyemouth had the highest number of alcohol-related anti-social behaviour incidents from April 2010-August 2012 with a result of 316; Duns had 208 and Coldstream 93.

Inspector John Scott, who is part of the safer communities team for the region, said from his own experience and the evidence in the profile, it was clear that rather than the blame being attributed to a particular age group there were no age boundaries when it came to alcohol-aggrevated disturbances and alcohol abuse.

“People are quick to blame youngsters for causing most of the trouble in communities but the evidence is there in black and white to suggest that all ages are responsible when alcohol is a factor.

“For example there has been a worrying increase in the number of 35-49 year old women admitted to hospital due to alcohol abuse. This is the only age group where the total for women was higher than men.

“Alcohol is the thread for many problems and affects the whole of the population.”

Last year the police targeted big events in the Borders social calendar such as the Melrose Sevens, Duns Reivers Week and the Jim Clark Rally, to urge people to drink in moderation and Inspector Scott said it became increasingly clear that alcohol consumed in licensed premises wasn’t necessarily the problem.

“People are ‘pre-loading on cheap booze before they go out, meaning that by the time they’re on the streets and in pubs they’re already drunk. The Alcohol Profile poses the question to everyone- are you drinking responsibly? We’re not telling people not to drink but they should be able to enjoy an event without being locked up or taken to hospital.”