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Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol Evaluation

A study led by the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow

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Background

Following a Supreme Court ruling, the Scottish Government introduced a minimum unit price for alcohol on 1 May 2018. There is evidence to suggest that reducing affordability of alcohol reduces both consumption and harm. Minimum unit pricing (MUP) of alcohol aims to increase the price of the cheapest alcohol, thus reducing its affordability.

This study, funded by National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), aims to determine the impacts (including whether these differ by age or deprivation) of alcohol MUP on selected acute health harms and unintended consequences that may occur. It will assess changes in alcohol-related attendances, and changes in the extent of hazardous and harmful drinking, in emergency departments in Scotland compared to North England where no such change is happening. This will help to establish whether MUP achieves its stated aim of reducing health harms.

Surveys will also be undertaken anonymously in sexual health clinics in Scotland and Northern England to detect whether MUP results in a change of source of alcohol or substitution with other drugs, as well as how it changes drinking patterns, particularly for young adults.

The team aims to understand the experience of MUP, and explore the potential mechanisms that may result in unanticipated benefits and harms and how these may differ between groups. Click here to find out more about the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow.

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