Letter: Alcohol in France

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From Ms Toni Brisby

Sir: David Lister (Diary, 17 October) draws the wrong conclusion from the fact that alcohol-related public order offences are much lower in France. There are a number of possible explanations for this, the most likely being that some cultures (such as ours) expect people to get rowdy when they are drunk, while other cultures expect them to stay relatively quiet.

What Mr Lister fails to realise is that deaths from liver disease in France run at roughly 10 times the rate of deaths from the same cause in the UK (although rates of cirrhosis in France are starting to fall because of an intensive, and expensive, health education campaign), as do virtually all the other alcohol-related problems.

It is a myth that the French know how to manage alcohol. They drink more than we do and they suffer more ill-effects from it than we do. Teaching little children to drink as a matter of routine simply increases the number of adults with alcohol problems.

Yours faithfully,

Toni Brisby