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Approaches to alcohol policy differ widely across the UK. Scottish policy appears to be most closely aligned with evidence-based recommendations, framing alcohol as a whole population issue, in contrast with UK government policy which is influenced to a greater extent by prevailing beliefs about personal responsibility for alcohol issues.
REVIEW 2015 HTM file
Prevention of addictive behaviours
Based largely on existing reviews, this report for the German Federal Centre for Health Education comprehensively assesses substance use prevention approaches. Among its many conclusions are that approaches based solely on information provision are ineffective, in contrast to the more positive evidence for lifeskills and multi-component community programmes.
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.
Playing team sports is associated with heavy drinking, but through an alcohol management code voluntarily entered in to and policed by sports clubs themselves, this unique randomised trial from Australia claims to have found a way to turn the tide without having to strengthen formal enforcement.
Evidence from Finland that the 2004 decreases in alcohol taxes and increase in availability of cheaper drink from abroad led to an increase in alcohol-related deaths and in deaths overall among harmful drinkers.
With this first UK survey providing data on price paid for alcohol plus consumption and income, the evidence is converging on the conclusion that poor heavy drinkers would be most affected by a minimum per unit price, gaining most in health, but losing most either in having to spend more or cut back on their drinking.
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’.
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.
STUDY 2014 HTM file
Monitoring and evaluating Scotland’s alcohol strategy. Fourth annual report
Report evaluating Scotland’s national alcohol strategy concludes that changes to alcohol licensing laws are unlikely to have affected alcohol-related harm, but that the ban on quantity discounts in the off-trade and increased delivery of brief interventions may have contributed to recent declines in alcohol consumption and harms.
STUDY 2008 HTM file
Independent review of the effects of alcohol pricing and promotion
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 raising price or banning promotions can bring major benefits. The findings helped persuade government to introduce a minimum per unit price for alcohol.
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