A social drink is something a lot of us enjoy at some time, but there is a darker side to alcohol which is more dangerous and costly than most of us imagine.
Today the Yorkshire Evening Post reveals the full extent of the social and economic cost to the city of alcohol consumption – and it is shocking.
In cash terms, the consequences of drinking too much cost Leeds million of pounds – the equivalent of every adult who lives here handing over 730 each per year and adding up to an annual bill of 438m.
The harsh reality is that a quarter of adults in Leeds drink to hazardous levels, putting themselves at risk, according to a report commissioned by the NHS in Leeds.
It means that in our city there are thousands of people suffering physical or mental harm, or inflicting it on others around them, because of the amount they drink.
We see the consequences in our city centre late at night as rowdy drinkers spill out of clubs and bars, and all too often our emergency services have to come to their rescue – but the problem spreads much further than that.
In reality, every area of life is affected by excess drinking and the millions of pounds of costs are spread right through the health and social care system, through the courts and prisons and through the workplace.
Let us be clear – drink can be fun, in the right quantity at the right time, but it is also a substance that can take life and can ruin life.
Those whose drinking gets out of control pay the price but so do the rest of us too – and the price we are all paying is unacceptable.
Decades of waste
THE West Yorkshire Fire control centre is an example of a white elephant that has not only cost the public dear, but it going to continue to cost us dear for the next two decades.
The government is locked into a long term lease which means that though the building is empty and the project to create "super-centres" abandoned, the original contract remains.
Not for a minute are we suggesting that there was anything improper about this contract, but it has saddled the taxpayer with an unnecessary cost, and those elected to public office must be in no doubt that people in Yorkshire will not stand by and watch them waste money indefinitely.
A special girl
MANY children win awards but the one given to nine-year-old Marianne Shackleton is very special indeed.
For Marianne, of Rawdon, Leeds, has been awarded a Cancer Research Little Star, in recognition of her bravery in coping with the disease.
For more than half her life Marianne has lived with the leukaemia that was first diagnosed when she was aged four. Since then she has endured two years of chemotherapy treatment and a bone marrow transplant.
But even her mum Bernadette has never heard Marianne complain, despite terrible side effects.
Marianne has simply got on with her life – and shown a fortitude that humbles the rest of us.