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Keep eye on effects.

Figures released today show the reasons why so many people are worried about changes in licensing laws.

The number of drink related deaths in the North East has shot up by 28%, well above the national average.

And there is little doubt the culture of drinking to excess rather than to enjoy has grown significantly.

Opponents to the new licensing laws fear an increase in binge drinking and in alcohol-related health problems such as cirrhosis.

However, the Government claims the move to more continental-style licensing rules will create a more relaxed nightlife culture and reduce the rush to drink in time for last orders.

Many families and lives have been devastated by alcoholism and yet it does not get the same attention as drugs or smoking.

A number of education initiatives are in place to get the message through to youngsters. There has been a crackdown on cheap drinks promotions, so-called Happy Hours, although more could still be done in this area.

More help needs to be provided to those whose drinking is out of control while individuals do have to take responsibility for their own habits.

Hopefully, the Government view will prove to be the case but if not then they should not be afraid to change the law again.

Brave fight

TODAY is the 60th anniversary of victory in Japan ( VJ Day.

It is important this anniversary continues to be marked. It will not be long before there are no survivors of the conflict but future generations must not be allowed to forget the sacrifices made so they could enjoy a free life.

We salute all those brave servicemen who fought to bring peace to the world.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 15, 2005
Previous Article:Honouring their fallen comrades.
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