Minimum price can’t change heavy drinkers’ habits, report says


A report by British academics indicates that the minimum unit price (MUP) on alcohol cannot change the habits of heavy drinkers in Ireland.

Debate is intensifying over the controversial measure, which entered into force in Ireland last week and has seen prices double for many cheaper products.

However, it is also claimed in British Columbia in Canada that the introduction of MUP resulted in a one-third drop in deaths fully explicable by alcohol poisoning..

But the minimum price of alcohol may cause some addicted to cut their daily expenses elsewhere in order to afford alcohol, reports show.

The people who pay the price can sometimes be those who already suffer from it, such as children, who may be more affected by the lack of financial resources.

A British study carried out last year found that most people reported drinking the same amount of alcohol as before the introduction of MUP.

However, he concluded that overall, there was little evidence of unintended consequences of the policy, such as a move towards illicit substances or the sniffing of glue.

the The University of Sheffield’s findings relate to alcohol dependent people accessing treatment services and may not reflect the larger community of drug addicts.

They concerned Scotland, where MUP was introduced in 2018 following a long legal battle. Alcohol sales in Scotland have fallen nearly 8% since its introduction, but debates rage over whether responsible drinkers have become collateral damage for the measure.

More than 60% of study participants noticed that the prices changed in the months following MUP, with two-thirds describing alcohol as “much more” expensive.

One in five said they cut spending in other areas to buy alcohol.

While alcohol consumption had not changed for two-thirds of those surveyed, half said they sought treatment for addiction.

Only one in five said they had reduced their alcohol consumption since the introduction of MUP.

Professor John Holmes, professor of alcohol policy at the University of Sheffield, said: “The policy has reduced the availability of cheap alcohol, often consumed by those most at risk of their drinking. alcohol.

Sinn Féin health spokesperson David Cullinane said he had “sympathy” for people whose price of favorite drink had gone up and criticized the government for not reserving the revenues of the MUP for drug addiction treatment services.

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