French Bill Aims to End Binge Drinking
Need help? Call our 24/7 helpline. 855-933-3480

French Bill Aims to End Binge Drinking


Put in on My Bill

France’s health minister and Paris resident Marisol Touraine is on a mission to reform her country’s liberal health service by trying to get a bill passed that will punish products that make drinking look appealing or fun. It’s specifically aimed at binge drinking. The lady’s onto something: France is home to a hospital with a wine and whiskey bar, and they’re also the world’s largest consumer of wine at 28.1 million hectoliters (739 million gallons). America is still the largest wine consumer, but remember that France is smaller than Texas and has a little over a fifth of the population of the US. Plus their best-known export likes to talk about how it’s perfectly normal to drink 56 glasses of wine a day.

Touraine will present the bill to the Assemblee Nationale next year with an aim to prevent illness and improve public health. Just like the US did for cigarettes, Touraine is proposing more information on mass-produced food, blank cigarette packs to discourage smoking and “shoot-up” rooms where heroin addicts can shoot drugs in government safe zones where they won’t be prosecuted but will be safe from crime (the heroin idea is modeled after the success of Copenhagen’s shoot-up rooms).

Free Country

Touraine’s bill is trying to do the American equivalent of taking down the Marlboro Man from the Sunset Strip, killing Joe Camel and preventing on-camera drinking during beer commercials. Touraine believes that this model will work in France and help the next generation’s health. But this bill isn’t just for “telephone cases or T-shirts that show amusing scenes based on drunkenness” as she puts it; it’s also for organizers of “student parties” where heavy drinking takes place. This is all well and good but I will point out that if liberal and Democratic France starts putting its political hand into college dorms and substance PR campaigns, where does this leave the country’s reputation as a laid back, cigarette smoking and wine drinking paradise? In the dust. Hitting on married women, drinking wine and chain smoking is Touraine’s rear view mirror scene of France. If this bill passes at France’s General Assembly, the comfort food-loving country will look like a yoga retreat one day.

I love Marisol Touraine’s “don’t care” attitude when it comes to people’s opinions of her. She was voted into office and is now going to help the citizens that will blast her in her country’s infamous media (which makes TMZ look like a tween blog). Still, if this is going to help prevent French drinkers from becoming alcoholics, my beret is off to her.

Midnight in Paris

France’s General Commission of Terminology only recently defined “binge drinking” as the “massive consumption of alcohol, usually as part of a group, designed to cause intoxication in a minimum amount of time.” They hurried to define this in 2013, because the 30% rise in hospital admissions reported due to binge drinking in the previous three years needed a term. And a Washington Post map shows France as only moderate in European binge drinking, with 30% of drinkers claiming heavy drinking in the past 30 days in Ireland, Finland and Greece as opposed to 25% in France.

Until now, France considered public drunkenness a problem to the north in Britain. But while binge drinking rose in France, it has been declining in the midst of the Britain recession. France, meanwhile, ran out of even more money in an even worse recession, but binge drinking still went up instead of down.

An interesting and popular opinion on why France’s binge drinking numbers are skyrocketing and ruining the fun for everyone is that French kids want to be English. Nabila Ramdani, a Parisian foreign affairs commentator for The Washington Post, says it’s an “increasing rejection of traditional French life, especially by young people.”

When in doubt, blame it on the youth. I say whatever works. A country can only own the patent on being the dreamy land of indulgence for so long.

Any Questions? Call Now To Speak to a Rehab Specialist
(855) 933-3480

About Author

Carlos Herrera is a comedian, photographer and writer whose work can also be found on The Fix . He has been featured in LA Weekly and has performed at The Hollywood Improv among other places.