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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