Thursday, January 14, 2010

British consider alcohol price increase

In this week's edition of The Economist, one of the standout articles was about a parliamentary health committee convening to discuss raising the prices on low-end alcohol. According to the article, many of the low-end alcoholic beverages are sold at incredibly low prices, as well as significantly discounted when purchased in bulk. From the article: "Using research from Sheffield University, the committee argued that a floor of 40p for a 10ml unit of alcohol—enough to push the Sainsbury’s cider up to £3.36—would save 1,100 lives per year. A floor of 50p would save 3,000, it said. Medical associations and the police all want to see drink get more expensive too."

As we've touched on before, the British have a long history of binge drinking, especially among the younger adults. British cases of cirrhosis are on the rise, while all over the rest of Western Europe cases of cirrhosis are on the decline. What's interesting to see is the fact that, per-capita, their consumption is the eighth-highest in Europe; however, according to the World Health Organization, a whopping 12% of the British population are non-drinkers.

Now normally, a bill like this would get a lot of negative feedback from the already-struggling pub industry; however, a raise in the low-end liquor industry wouldn't directly affect them as most drinks served in bars aren't THAT low end. So hopefully we'll see a stabilzation in the low-end market, helping slow alcohol consumption in the lower-end markets. Scotland, on the other hand, is working to introduce a "social responsibility" fee for bars and other liquor sales places, presumably to put those funds toward treatment and education programs. I hope that we see an uptick in this area; alcohol sales tax SHOULD go towards rehabilitation services for those in need- after all, their legal drug causes all sorts of damage to individuals and families. Perhaps a price increase will slow consumption of liquor in the UK; at any rate, it's a start, and one can hope that treatment options are made more readily available to those in need.

In other news, TLC announced today that they would be premiering a new series called "Addicted" this March, featuring interventionist Kristina Wandzilak of Full Circle Intervention and author of the book, "The Lost Years." I'm excited for this show- I know that the journey through addiction will be presented well, and can only increase awareness to the help available out there. I'm happy that this seems not only to focus on intervention, but also on the "life stuff" that follows the exit from a treatment center. Once again, the more awareness of resources available, the better- if this show helps one person seek treatment, then I qualify it as a success.

Here's a video of Ms. Wandzilak from ABC:

Here's something funny.

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  1. This sounds to be a nice strategy to reduce addiction problem on various substances. This will help create a better awareness about the adverse effects of drugs among the people.
    Nice sharing of a useful video with it.

  2. What up Ferg. I don't think the British should be allowed to raise prices on ANYTHING. We wrote this about them too:

  3. Interesting information. I have not known about it before. This will not only reduce the addiction problem in the country, but also will help increase the revenue of the country.
    Thanks for the content. Keep posting more like this.

  4. Thank you for the information. British pubs already have put restrictions on their hours of operation in order to keep their population from becoming alcoholics. Now they are going to raise their prices on low end liquor to help alleviate the problem. I have no doubt in my mind that limiting the drinking habits of a country is extremely complex. Maybe these measures will help. I believe they have to keep trying.

  5. This article was very informative and I liked it.