The ripples of harmful alcohol consumption pass from individuals, through families and communities, and impact our society as a whole. These effects are substantial and wide-reaching as alcohol causes the death of 3 people a day in Scotland, is involved in 46% of violent crime and costs NHS Scotland £268 million every year.
Last May, Scotland led the way by introducing a 50p MUP, and Wales will do so this year. This policy, which means no alcoholic product can be sold at less than 50p per unit of alcohol, targets the highest strength, cheapest products and has little to no impact on pubs and moderate drinkers. MUP will also be introduced in the Republic of Ireland in the near future, but there are no current plans to do so in England.
While it is still too early to say what the impact of MUP in Scotland has been so far, it is expected to deliver significant health and social benefits. In Scotland the introduction of MUP is predicted to, in the long term, save 121 lives and 2,042 hospital admissions every year.
Alcohol can, in some circumstances, have a truly devastating effect on individuals and our communities. The most substantial recent development in alcohol policy has been the Scottish Government adopting of minimum unit pricing (MUP) as a measure to reduce alcohol harms,
We need to support targeted, evidence-based programmes that allow us to reduce alcohol harm. This can make individuals, their families, their communities, and our country safer and healthier.