Minimum drink prices could save lives28th September 2009
A report by researchers at Sheffield University has backed up measures being considered by the Scottish government to bring in minimum prices for alcoholic drinks.
The research suggested that the introduction of a minimum price of 40p per unit could help prevent hundreds of deaths annually and reduce crime.
The suggestions would mean that a bottle of wine would have to cost a minimum of £3.60 and six cans of lager at least £4.80.
Scotland has very high levels of crime and health issues connected with alcohol, which has been blamed on low drink prices.
The study, which was commissioned by the government, said that if alcohol had to cost at least 40p per unit, then 70 deaths could be prevented in the first year.
It said that after ten years the health service could expect to see savings of around £160 million and prevent 370 deaths a year.
If the level was increased to 50p per unit, even more dramatic results would be seen. The study added that 30,000 work absences could be prevented if prices were increased.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "It's now widely recognised that excessive alcohol consumption across society, fanned by rock-bottom pricing, is one of the biggest threats to Scottish public health."
She added: "But it's clear that to bring about a real, lasting culture change we've got to be bolder. That's why the Scottish Government is bringing forward a radical package of measures in the Alcohol Bill."
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