A large debate on the impact of alcohol is underway in Brighton and Hove. The ‘Big Alcohol Debate’ began Friday 14 October with a 24-hour twitter ‘marathon’, and the debate will continue for several months until the New Year.

Concerns about the excessive consumption of alcohol in relation to illnesses, crime and lifestyle, has prompted the review which is being hosted by the local Alcohol Programme Board.

The board consists of Sussex Police, NHS, Brighton and Hove City Council and the voluntary sector. The debate, titled, ‘How Do You Drink Yours?’ posed the question, “if you were in charge of Brighton and Hove, what would you do about alcohol?”

The twitter marathon generated various opinionated contributions. For example, ‘Peteface212002’ said “Alcohol is just a poison. It’s just a drug. It promises relaxation, confidence, no fear, but it gives none of these. It just takes.”

Meanwhile ‘Tim Huzar’ said “One of the things that makes me happiest in Brighton is its amazing pubs.” Responses to the twitter page ranged from pro- to anti-drinking, alcohol-related facts, observations of behaviour during the day and night, and some questioning of the debate’s impartiality.

Other ways the debate is seeking responses include surveys, video diaries, postcard questionnaires, focus groups and Twitter and Youtube pages. Dr Tom Scanlon, Chair of the Alcohol Programme Board, said:  “The issue of alcohol divides opinion and it’s easy to see why…. we’re asking as many people as possible what they think.”

Excessive alcohol consumption has been prevalent in recent weeks. On Friday 14 October, at 2am, a girl climbed onto the roof of the Concorde 2 nightclub whilst intoxicated. She became frightened, and required assistance from the police and fire brigade.

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