Pricing not the only factor affecting alcohol use

alcohol pricing A government decision to introduce a minimum price per unit of alcohol sold in Britain would have only a limited effect on the way some individuals purchase and consume beers, wines and spirits.

This is according to leading addiction charity Addaction, which said making certain beverages more expensive to purchase in supermarkets and other outlets is unlikely to impact those people living with severe and ingrained alcohol problems.

The body, which provides support and guidance for people living with drug and alcohol addictions, does not believe the price of the substance is the most effective measure to stop the country's ongoing binge-drinking culture.

Its comments come on the same day as the end of a consultation between the government, health professionals and the drinks industry on whether or not to introduce a minimum price per unit of alcohol sold.

Addaction said it does support the idea of the move and believes it will be an important step for the country's drinking culture, while providing an effective way of tackling the UK's high levels of consumption.

However, a survey carried out by the charity of more than 1,000 of its service users found almost two thirds believe such measures would not reduce their consumption of alcoholic drinks.

The study was carried out after the Office for National Statistics reported a slight drop in the number of alcohol-related deaths across England and Wales, with 42 fewer people dying as a result of drinking over the last 12 months.

Although the findings represent a step in the right direction, campaigners argued the government still needs to do more to prevent the number of people who die unnecessarily as a result of alcohol from rising.

This could be through education and training programmes that are considered "vital" in preventing health problems or addictions for future generations.
Simon Antrobus, chief executive for Addaction, said: "There is no single answer to the UK's alcohol problems and while minimum price is one way of shifting attitudes and reducing consumption, it can only succeed if it is part of a wider programme of activities."

Mr Antrobus went on to say that the programme of activities includes minimum unit pricing, as well as a responsible approach from the alcohol industry that will support the rolling out of appropriate licensing laws.

In addition, he claimed it is vital to ensure there is a commitment from both the government and industry on the matter that will ensure young people remain informed and educated about the issues that truly affect people in their age bracket.

Campaigners also argued that individuals living with alcohol dependence need continued support from both loved ones and politicians to explore other routes that could help them kick the habit if minimum unit pricing has little impact on their addiction.

The comments were made after a new review article entitled Cortex suggested that young people who regularly abuse alcohol when they are young could suffer lifelong effects to their brain health.

Scientists found such effects can include problems with visual learning and memory as well as executive functioning among people who had consumed beer, wine and spirits from earlier life.

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