Drinking a major problem for the town

NEWS that one in seven people in Ipswich have a serious drink problem is very disturbing for the community as a whole.

NEWS that one in seven people in Ipswich have a serious drink problem is very disturbing for the community as a whole.

Many people enjoy a drink socially - a glass or two of wine with a meal, a pint with friends in the pub, or a Scotch to unwind with after a long, hard day.

But for 18,000 people in the town drinking is no longer just an enjoyable diversion every so often - it is a real crutch which helps them get through the day. Every day. And it is causing them and society as a whole serious damage.

The most easy way of quantifying the effect is to work out the cost of treating the problem. The 18,000 people in Ipswich who have a problem with drinking cost the local economy £40 million a year - that is more than £300 for every man, woman, and child in Ipswich.

Tackling drinking is very difficult. The sad reality is that the person who is drinking too much is often the last person to recognise that fact.

Members of Alcoholics Anonymous often say the biggest step on their road to recovery is to face up to their problem in the first place and attend their first AA meeting.

Most Read

And the problems faced by a society which relies too heavily on drink are not always obvious - it is not just the cost of dealing with the violent drunk that is a problem.

People working at late-night off-licences or supermarkets regularly see people stagger in late at night to buy a bottle of cheap cider or cheap spirits to top themselves up.

Others just drink quietly behind the curtains of their homes until they sink into oblivion.

Britain's drinking culture is an issue for which there are no easy solutions.

TODAY'S public meeting will give the people of the Trimley villages a chance to have their say on the proposals which could change the character of their communities for ever.

There is great pressure for more homes on the Felixstowe peninsula as more people want to live near the sea and it also makes sense for people working at the docks to live as near as possible so they don't have to drive miles to work every day.

However any development needs to be very carefully thought out to ensure that any changes do not change the communities that will host the new homes.

There is no point in building so many homes that the villages lose the very character that made them popular in the first place.

Of course they cannot be expected to be preserved in aspic - but planners and councillors must ensure that any growth complements rather than destroys the existing community.

THESE are worrying times for the family of Robert Harrison who has gone missing from his Ipswich home.

The 50-year-old, who has been married for 33 years, has not been seen for a week and his loved ones are understandably very concerned.

When people go missing from their home, even if they have gone away before, it is always going to cause great concern.

Everyone will be hoping he is soon found safe and well and reunited with his loving family.