By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
THE Balearic government has decided against introducing new laws to control the consumption of alcohol in this legislature.
The Ministry for Health and Consumer Affairs believes that before just steps are taken, a concerted attempt has to be made to increase the region's awareness of the social and medical problems excessive consumption and abuse of alcohol pose.

The director general for health, Margalida Buades, said this week “we are going to mount a major effort to educate society about the dangers of alcohol. “We live in a society which drinks a lot and such behaviour has become an accepted part of society and our modern culture,” she added.
She believes that any new laws regulating the consumption of alcohol should be introduced at a national level and, before the Balearic government considers taking such steps, the local authorities intend to engage the general public in the alcohol debate and break down the drinking culture with the cooperation of society as a whole. Botellon, mass gatherings of young people in public spaces on weekends and bank Holidays, have become a national phenomenon and a thorn in the side of society for the disruption, noise and mess such events generate. The former Balearic government allegedly introduced laws banning the so-called botellon, but they were never properly enforced.

The 24-hour sale of alcohol in Palma was however banned but, with students claiming they can not afford to pay the high bar prices, botellon is their only option to socialise and have a drink with their friends on the weekend.

Palma's Paseo Maritimo is the most popular place on the island, but over recent years, botellons have been popping up all over Majorca becoming a burden for the local population and the police.

The left-wing Balearic government has come under fire from the opposition Partido Popular over its decision not to enforce new laws regulating alcohol consumption.

According to the Partido Popular, this is just yet another U-turn on one of its election manifesto promises.

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