An investigation into why Britain has become the "binge-drinking champion" of Europe has been launched by The Observer. One of the questions it poses is whether the drinks industry must carry at least part of the blame. Fourteen million working days are lost every year because of alcohol abuse; half of all violent crime is blamed on it; and it is responsible for 70% of weekend admissions to hospital casualty department. Experts say the reasons lie in a "curious set of legal and social changes, unique to this country and going back over almost two decades". Nottinghamshire chief constable Stephen Green blames the death of the traditional manufacturing industries, the decision to end the tied system between breweries and pubs, and the growth of youth culture. The Observer 05/09/04 (Review) pages 1 & 2