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Did minimum unit pricing have an immediate impact in Scotland, and did any evidence emerge to support fears that the policy would unfairly target moderate drinkers, particularly in lower income groups?
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.
Minimum price increases of alcoholic beverages in a Canadian province between 2002 and 2013 set the stage for a real-word study of minimum unit pricing. Reductions in alcohol-related hospital admissions, particularly in lower income areas, tentatively suggest that low income regions may experience the greatest health benefits of such a policy.
Variations in the implementation of alcohol licensing policies across England presented a natural opportunity to study the impact of discretionary powers. Between 2011 and 2015, local areas with a more ‘hands on’ approach to enforcement saw moderate reductions in alcohol-related hospital admissions and violent and sexual crimes.
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.
Unable to draw on evidence from ‘gold standard’ randomised controlled trials, this review used nine criteria to assess the effect of minimum unit pricing – finding on balance that setting a minimum price per unit of alcohol was likely to reduce alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms.
An ambitious attempt to use research to understand the most effective and cost-effective set of policies for reducing alcohol-related harm in the English context, from taxation and price regulation to managing the drinking environment.
What constitutes ‘alcohol-related’ domestic abuse, and to what extent can interventions designed to reduce the harms of alcohol also reduce domestic abuse?
STUDY 2016 HTM file
The Licensing Act (2003): its uses and abuses 10 years on
Seen as excluding health concerns and requiring an individualistic and ‘premises by premises’ approach, interviews with stakeholders and a revisiting of the 2003 Licensing Act for England and Wales suggest it could nevertheless be used to address public health and to implement licensing policies and decisions based on likely overall local impact.
HOT TOPIC 2017 HTM file
Controlling alcohol-related crime and disorder
‘Hot topics’ offer background and analysis on important issues which sometimes generate heated debate. Within UK substance use policy alcohol-related violence and disorder has for decades been a high profile concern. For governments mindful of a drinking electorate, the conundrum is how to curb the fallout from drinking without being branded as a nanny-state killjoy.
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