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Crack down on ‘le binge drinking’

An end to ‘open bars’ selling drink to under-18s and alcohol near schools as government targets teenage drunkenness.

Under 18s will be banned from buying alcohol in a bid to crack down on binge drinking, according to health minister Roselyne Bachelot.

In an interview in the Journal du Dimanche she announced a set of measures set to tackle the phenomenon which is on the rise in France.

Included are plans to end ‘open bars’, where bars and pubs charge an entrance fee but then offer free drinks for the remainder of the night.

Drinking alcohol in public places near schools will also be banned and France’s ambiguous rules regarding the sale of drinks to under-18s, which currently vary depending on bars, clubs and supermarkets, will be made into a simple ban.

"Almost half of youths said they had had five glasses of alcohol on a single night on at least one occasion in the previous 30 days, which is the definition of binge drinking," said Ms Bachelot.

She said the number of under-25s hospitalised because of excessive drinking had doubled between 2004 and 2007.

The term binge drinking has been adopted into common parlance in France.

The measures are expected to come into force in 2009 but do not include a plan to ban happy hours – which was discussed by the government.

Another measure will be to ban sales of alcohol in filling stations which currently operates only from 22.00 to 6.00.


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