Alcohol misuse is a well-known leading cause of disease in Britain. It costs the NHS in England around three point five billion pounds a year and is responsible for around 7,000 deaths a year. But there are signs that the health message might finally be getting through. Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest that in the last eight years, the number of adults who are tee-total has risen by 40%. In the South East, 18% of all adults never touch alcohol. Tom Savvides has been speaking with mother of three Emma Bushen from East Malling in Kent, who says her family was almost torn apart by her battle with drink. He also talks to Emma's husband James Bushen and son Luke. Jackie Ballard from Alcohol Concern also features in this report.
Packs of cigarettes have warnings printed on them - to tell smokers of the dangers they face. Should bottles of alcohol have similar warnings too?
Some MPs and members of the House of Lords think so. They've issued a report saying that, because most people don't understand the health risks, it's time to stamp warnings on bottle labels, like Alcohol Kills, or Alcohol Can Seriously Damage Your Health.
Well Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe's on the All-Party Group on Alcohol Misuse. Earlier he told me why he felt the measures would be effective
More than twenty five off-licences and stores in Portsmouth have signed up to a new scheme to help cut excessive drinking.
Shops are being asked to stop selling any beer or cider over 6.5% in volume, not including premium products.
Dr Andrew Mortimore, Interim Director of Public Health, said, "It is estimated that alcohol misuse costs the NHS, criminal justice service and employers £74 million annually in Portsmouth.
A significant part of this can be attributed to the availability of "super-strength" alcohol. Also, Portsmouth's hospital admissions due to alcohol are above the average for the UK."
Police in Dorset will be carrying out additional patrols and offering advice to students during freshers' week to reduce alcohol related crime.
It comes as part of the 'In Focus' campaign which will run over five days from 18th to 22nd September.
It aims to highlight the realities of dealing with drunkenness and alcohol-related incidents.
The campaign coincides with freshers' week - when new students arrive at their chosen universities.
Police hope that a greater presence will help people face up to the problems of excessive drinking.
University Liaison Officer PC Andy Scarratt said: "We will be offering students advice on staying safe whilst on nights out. Our aim is for individuals to enjoy their student experience, but in a safe and well informed way.”
Police in Southampton, Eastleigh, Romsey and New Forest area are launching a week of action against alcohol crime on Monday 16th September.
The forces hope to bring home the message of the harm alcohol can do when people don't drink responsibly.
Local police are working closely with councils and partners to produce activities during the week as part of a national initiative.
-Having a zero-tolerance policy in relation to drunkenness in areas of night time economy
-Holding test purchases operations at off-licenses
-Visiting pubs and clubs to check capacity, safety, noise levels and measures
-Working with anti-social co-ordinators to crackdown on underage drinking
-Working with partners at freshers weeks for Southampton universities to promote responsible drinking
-Continuing high visibility patrols at night
Hastings Council wants to introduce a ban on off-licences selling strong alcohol across parts of the town. If it does so, it will be the first council in Sussex to take the step. They say the ban will be voluntary. But they're determined to tackle the problem of street drinking.
Well earlier, Fred Dinenage spoke to Councillor Jay Kramer who has been looking at this issue. He started by asking her how bad the problem of street drinking had got in Hastings.
For people with severe alcohol and drugs addiction, a stint of goat husbandry might sound like an odd prescription. But that's one approach being tried out by a specialist recovery centre near Maidstone.
The Kenward Trust, which helps addicts to clean up their lives and get back on track, has formed a partnership with the Buttercups Goat Sanctuary. It's hoped that caring for the animals every day will help to bring structure and a sense of responsibility to the Trust's residents.
David Johns explains, talking to Ken Crawford from the Kenward Trust, volunteer Valerie Underdown, and Bob Hitch, founder of Buttercups Goat Sanctuary.
A campaigner for victims' rights - whose husband was killed by a drunken gang - has been in Kent to see what is being done to tackle teenage drinking. Baroness Newlove was in Maidstone to see how Government money is being spent on a project to make young people aware of dangers.
Her husband, Garry, was attacked outside their home six years ago - a tragedy that left her determined to make young people think - before they drink. David Johns reports.
Baroness Newlove at Maplesden Noakes School in Maidstone, watching a lesson teaching the children about the dangers of alcohol abuse.
Baroness Newlove will visit Maplesden Noakes School in Maidstone this lunchtime to watch a "Don't Abuse the Booze" lesson delivered by Kent Integrated Youth Service which supports young people.