The overall financial cost to society – however it is calculated – in terms of the NHS, justice and productivity, is very high and represents public funds that could clearly be better spent elsewhere.
The same could also be said of the personal budgets of the many people in this city who spend too large a portion of their income on alcohol.
We know there is a problem, we have known for decades, but finding a solution is far more challenging than producing the reports that tell us how bad it is.
Some want to restrict off-licences in areas where there are already thought to be too many, to reduce consumption of cheaper alcohol at home.
But the reason for the licence applications in the first place is the high demand for the product.
Reducing the demand for alcohol, curbing our appetite for booze in quantities that wreck lives and even kill, is the key – over time – to changing our culture to one where alcohol is no longer a major problem.
Lecturing people about their lifestyle does not work and it remains to be seen if increasing the unit price of certain drinks will be a solution.
Change is needed and, however it may be achieved, it must be done if we are to become a healthier city.