Govt targets teenage binge drinkers

The advert is designed to be shocking
The advert is designed to be shocking

The government is targeting binge drinkers between the ages of 18 and 24 with a hard-hitting series of adverts designed to show the dangers of over-drinking on a night out.

The £4 million campaign will include a television, radio, print and online adverts. Its tagline is: 'You wouldn't start a night like this, so why end it that way?'

Home secretary Jacqui Smith said: "I am not prepared to tolerate alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder on our streets and this new campaign will challenge people to think twice about the serious consequences of losing control."

The advert from a key part of the government's new strategy on alcohol which includes new laws on underage drinking in public, a national police campaign to confiscate drink from young people, a clampdown on "irresponsible retailers", tougher penalties on those shops which sell alcohol to the underage and independent research into the link between alcohol pricing and harm.


Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said: "It's vital that we challenge the attitude widespread among young people that socialising must always involve heavy drinking.

"This will take time, but this sizeable campaign is an important contribution to that process."

The centrepiece of the campaign is two new television adverts which reverse the sequence of a night out gone wrong. The adverts show a man and woman getting ready at home for a night out. They end with the man leaving home bloody and damaged and the woman closing her front door with smeared make-up and vomit in her hair.

Chris Allison, deputy assistant commissioner of the metropolitan police and ACPO lead for licensing said: "We cannot simply police our way out of this problem. Any new initiative which grabs attention and stimulates action by parents, local agencies and young people themselves is welcome."

But the Conservatives are questioning the government's commitment to tackling drinking among young people.

The new shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve said: "While public information is important this will be nothing more than another gimmick if it is not backed up with proper enforcement of the law.

"Prosecutions for drunkenness are down by over a third since 2002 and just a handful of people have been properly punished for selling to underage or drunk customers.

"This is not to mention the fact that it was this government that unleashed 24 hour drinking on our towns and cities."

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