I've been thinking on this for a while now and thought I might need a bit of scientific research to back up my assumptions. Sure enough, stick "loud music alcohol consumption" into Google and you find this: http://www.spring.org.uk/2008/09/why-loud-music-in-bars-increases.php
Following this discovery, I can now confidently propose my solution to binge drinking. The plan would be to reform the licensing laws to create premises (or zones within premises) either designated as conversation areas or dancing areas. Conversation areas could be limited to a music volume of around 72dB, and could be your usual pub environment: tables and chairs, wine bottles with candles in, glasses with plastic flowers, whatever takes your fancy. Dancing areas can have the music at whatever level they like, but with no seating, and no tables. You're either there to chat to your friends... or to dance. There is no point in being sat at a table incapable of communication and incapable of monitoring your ability to stand up straight. It is about time somebody stood up and said "That is a crap night out." Give me somewhere I can chat and laugh, give me somewhere I can dance. But you can stick your tequila slammers, flaming sambucas, slippery nipples and pitchers of binge right up your fat publican bottom.
Hmm. Turns out I was more passionate about this subject than I thought.
On a more sober note (ahoho), would it not be better if our youngsters were drinking with responsible adult supervision and examples than necking vodka and cheap cider in parks. Perhaps we should consider opening up these conversation and dancing areas to 16 and 17 year olds. Give them an idea of what adult drinking behaviour is like. Obviously, certain premises might not be deemed suitable for the youngsters, and some might not want their custom. But where's the harm in letting teenagers enjoy the pub quiz, the karaoke night and the pool table at the local family pub? Better the landlord phones up to tell you your son or daughter is a little worse for wear, than a medical professional phoning to say they've had their stomach pumped and have lost a tooth.