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Though real-world evidence was scarce, and especially so for the UK, this review commissioned by the UK Home Office concluded that higher alcohol taxes or prices are associated with decreased crime. The findings informed a later Home Office assessment of the likely impact of a rise in the price of alcohol in Britain.
Commissioned by the English health department, the first study to model the impacts of alcohol policies by integrating data on pricing, promotion, purchasing, consumption and harm found that price rises or bans on promotions can bring major benefits. Findings informed a Home Office assessment of the impacts of raising the price of alcohol.
Review updating knowledge to mid-2011 confirms that alcohol-related harm and illness have been curbed by increasing alcohol prices or taxes, but what happens to overall mortality remains unclear – and there is more to why people do or do not drink than health and harm.
STUDY 2014 HTM file
Model-based appraisal of minimum unit pricing for alcohol in Wales
After similar analyses for England and Scotland comes this simulation of what a minimum unit price for alcohol would do for health, crime and workplace absence in Wales. The conclusion is the same: set at the right level, the policy substantially saves lives and reduces social impact by making (especially poor and heavy) drinkers cut back.
Minimum unit pricing for alcohol has in England faced the barrier of being seen as punishing the majority drinking public for the minority of irresponsible and ‘binge’ drinkers. This report reassuringly assessed the impacts on moderate drinkers as minor – but less reassuringly, so too the impacts on young ‘bingers’.
Though price rises would have been modest, still the increase in alcohol taxes in Illinois in 2009 significantly reduced fatal alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes by at least 15% over the following 28 months.
HOT TOPIC 2018 HTM file
A minimum price for drink?
‘Hot topics’ offer background and analysis on important issues which sometimes generate heated debate. Politics and evidence relating to the most important and controversial public health issue of recent times – eliminating the cheap drink heavy drinkers rely on by setting a high minimum per unit price for alcohol. Scotland has done it and other UK nations are following suit – but not yet England.
In these UK national prevention guidelines, experts prioritised population-wide changes like price rises and outlet restrictions which affect everyone, independent of the choices they make. But in England government prefers to target what they see as the troublesome minority, not the responsible majority.
IN PRACTICE 2005 PDF file 1242Kb
Wet day centres in Britain part 1: planning and setting up
Solid guidance based on a detailed analysis of UK centres offering street drinkers a place where they can start to reverse years of deterioration without having first to stop drinking. In this extraordinarily difficult task, good planning is key.
IN PRACTICE 2005 PDF file 813Kb
Wet day centres in Britain part 2: Care Control Challenge
Part 2 of our mini-series on wet day centres in Britain will ring bells not just for alcohol workers but also for drug workers in needle exchanges and drop-in services. Maureen Crane and Tony Warnes analyse what it takes to work productively in one of the most challenging of settings.
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