New Research Report Reveals Impact of Pricing on People Who Drink at Harmful Levels | New

Research from the University of Sheffield assesses the impact of minimum unit pricing (MUP) on people who drink alcohol at harmful levels, including those who are alcohol dependent and those accessing alcohol services. treatment.

  • New research assesses the impact of minimum unit pricing (MUP) on people who drink alcohol at harmful levels, including those who are alcohol dependent and those accessing treatment services
  • An extensive mixed-methods research program was used to examine the impacts on alcohol purchase and consumption, other positive and negative effects of the policy, and the impact on key groups, such as members relatives or those who live in remote or rural areas.
  • Research concludes that people who drink at harmful levels, and particularly those with alcohol addiction, are a diverse group with complex needs who often experience multiple interacting health and social problems.

The University of Sheffield worked with Public Health Scotland (PHS) to assess the impact of minimum unit pricing on the purchase and consumption of alcohol. The final report, released today (June 7, 2022), comes from a study that assessed the impact on people who drink alcohol at harmful levels, including those who are alcohol dependent and those accessing treatment services.

The University of Sheffield, University of Newcastle (Australia) and Figure 8 Consultancy Services conducted a large-scale study to understand how this large, but hard-to-reach population responded to MUP. An extensive mixed-methods research program was used to examine the impacts on alcohol purchase and consumption, other positive and negative effects of the policy, and the impact on key groups, such as members relatives or those who live in remote or rural areas.

Among those who drink at harmful levels or those addicted to alcohol, the study found no clear evidence of a change in drinking or severity of addiction. The results also showed that some economically vulnerable groups were experiencing increased financial hardship, as price increases meant they were spending more on alcohol. This has led some alcohol addicts to cut back on other expenses, such as food and utilities.

There was little evidence found of other negative consequences in this population following the introduction of MUP, such as increased criminality, shift to illicit substance use, or acute withdrawal. People with alcohol dependence were also found to have limited knowledge and understanding of MUP and reported receiving little information or support prior to its introduction.

Professor John Holmes, Professor of Alcohol Policy at the University of Sheffield and Director of the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group at the University of Sheffield, who led the global study said:

“We know from previous studies that the MUP reduced alcohol sales, including among those who bought the most alcohol before the policy. Our study shows that people with alcohol dependence responded to MUP very differently.

“Some have reduced spending on other things, but others have switched to less strong drinks or simply bought less alcohol. It is important that alcohol treatment services and other organizations find ways to support those in financial trouble, especially as inflation rises.

Helen Chung Patterson, Public Health Intelligence Advisor at Public Health Scotland, said:

“People who drink at harmful levels, and particularly those with alcohol dependence, are a diverse group with complex needs who often experience multiple interacting health and social problems. They are therefore unlikely to respond to the MUP in a unique or simple way. Many are likely to drink low-cost, high-strength alcohol affected by MUP and are most at risk for their alcohol consumption. This population therefore has the potential to benefit the most from the MUP, but may also continue to suffer harm.

“This research further expands our understanding and knowledge of this important population and how they responded to MUP across a wide range of areas. It is crucial to build the evidence base in this area as part of our overall assessment of the MUP. »

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