Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Sour grapes: our changing relationship with alcohol

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 12 January 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d170
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

We are not French—we are party people. A pervading British logic runs: “Why drink frequent, small amounts of alcohol when we can save our weekly rations for the weekend?” Sod the medical advice, because celebratory or (depending on your view) binge drinking is in our bloodstream and is a defining British social trait. City centres on weekend nights are full of young people spewed across the pavements, decerebrated through alcohol. Hair awry, crumpled clothes: these are just friendly fire casualties of our “work hard, play harder” culture. Emergency services look on, too bemused …

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