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Drinking Age Must Be Raised to Curb Binge Drinking-Voices Warn

A report has come out with the suggestion that Britain’s drinking age should be raised to 21, in order to curb the binge-drinking spree that is threatening to knock out teenagers. //

In an article for the journal published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), journalist Jasper Gerard claims that Britain has "lost the plot" over the regulation of alcohol.

Gerard purports "tough love", which is needed to tackle the "overwhelming" effects on society caused by binge drinking.

Though he agrees that no single measure could do the trick, Gerard says that raising the age at which youngsters are able to consume alcohol, would help them to view it as something "forbidden" to them.

The article goes on to list other ‘do-able’ methods such as the introduction of special "smart cards" for those aged between 18 and 21 – restricting them to buy no more than three units of alcohol.

Gerard also argues that taxes of drinks aimed at young people should also be raised to deter their consumption and retailers who sell alcohol to minors, subject to more prosecutions and higher fines.

"By raising the age threshold it is at least possible that those in their early and mid teens will not see drink as something they will soon be allowed to do so. Instead they might come to see it as it should be: forbidden", Gerard writes.

Department of Health figures that show that the number of under-18s admitted to accident and emergency with alcohol-related injuries have increased by 40 per cent in the past three years, have moved politicians and health campaigners to much concern.

Another article that calls the drinking age to be raised to 21 is one by in the medical journal, The Lancet, by Dr Russell Viner, a pediatrician at University College London. He claims that binge drinking is now a "serious problem" among young people.

However, industry bodies including the Bar Entertainment and Dance Ass ociation, (BEDA) rejected his suggestion, saying that raising the drinking age would "simply further drive the trend towards unmediated access to alcohol".

As for the government, it states that since the “majority of people drink sensibly and responsibly", there will be no such moves to raise the age limit for drinking. "Instead, we are using a combination of effective education and tough enforcement to change the behavior of the minority that don't," a government spokesman was quoted.

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