FOR most of us drinking is a normal, healthy part of a balanced life.

And, for those of us without a problem, talk of its dangers is too easily pushed aside as something that happens to other people.

But, if today’s special report looking into the true cost of Bolton’s drink problem tells us anything, it’s how indiscriminate the problem really is.

Alcoholism’s cruel torment can visit any of us, regardless of background, as Jenny Garland testifies in today’s hard hitting report.

Her ‘normal’ drinking habit spiralled out of control and it had a huge impact on her life.

It even claimed the life of her partner, who died just days after entering rehab.

Nobody wants to curtail people’s ability to enjoy a drink or to have fun, but when three people a week are drinking themselves into an early grave in Bolton alone we need to sit up and take notice.

The impact on those families is immense, as is the impact on our already stretched health service.

Harm caused by alcohol costs Greater Manchester £1.3 billion a year — equal to £500 for every resident.

We can’t afford it. Simple as that. Not on a human level or on an institutional one.

But help is on hand, if you need it. Greater Manchester has a host of services available for people who need them. So don’t wait until it is too late. Don’t become one of the statistics in this report.

Get help now. Before it’s too late.