Britain's growing binge-drinking culture has been blamed for a massive rise in the number of convictions for public disorder. Home Office figures show the number of men and women found guilty of being drunk and disorderly has risen almost by 10,000 in a decade. Excessive drinking is thought to be a major factor behind a rise in violent crime. Alcohol abuse is now costing the country £20bn a year, much of it borne by the NHS. Campaigners want more money spent on sensible drinking messages and education about safe drinking levels. Alcohol Concern believes that eight million people are drinking above medically-recommended limits and that twice as many people are dependent on alcohol as on all other drugs. The Independent on Sunday 19/06/05 page 2