The current debate about having a minimum price for alcohol in Wales is gathering political momentum but seems to be missing some of the research that shows that a number of heavy drinkers will turn to drugs as they become relatively cheaper. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-42154887
If people think this will curb street drinkers they need to think again – many are getting their funds for drinks by begging, others are stealing their drink — the minimum price would have no effect on this cohort.
The group that can afford to buy drink are the ones who could switch to drugs.
Politicians should gather more information and don’t assume a price increase in one product solves the health of the nation.
Compulsory seat belts and no smoking were both vehemently opposed but now accepted. The same applies to a minimum price for a Unit of alcohol, the public would get used to it and businesses would adjust.
I think the findings of the report are very eye opening and there are some genuine concerns. I mean I find it astonishing that just 3% of the population is responsible for drinking just over a quarter of all the alcohol. I thought the Scots had a bad reputation!
What that’s saying is if you eliminated alcoholism from Wales – alcohol sellers would see a massive 1/4 drop in sales. I have serious doubts that the likes of Bargain Booze/Wetherspoons and the supermarkets are going to feel like they 100% want to get behind this. But then they are effectively profiting from addiction there.
Also if they are going to have falling sales in the cheap end of the market due to minimum pricing, firms are going to more aggressively target the middle and higher income drinker set, to encourage them to drink more, which will ironically lead to an increased number of alcoholics in that cohort. They can’t promote drinks with cheap special offers? No problem – drinks promotions turn to prizes and freebie giveaways instead.
Putting up the price will encourage more theft by the druggie / alcholic community. Responsible middle aged social drinkers will be the ones to suffer from price increases. Young people on a night out with friends won’t care how much their drinks cost if they don’t have bills to pay.
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