When governments institute a minimum price for alcoholic beverages, the percentage of deaths and hospitalizations from alcohol use significantly drops, a new study suggests.
Researchers at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, studied the impact of “minimum unit pricing,” a policy that sets a minimum price for a standard drink defined by pure alcohol content. These policies help prevent the sale of cheap drinks with high alcohol content.
These policies are in effect in places including Scotland, Wales and some provinces in Canada.
“As we continue to weather the COVID-19 pandemic and hear concerns about overwhelming our health care systems, this study shows that a minimum unit price for alcohol would help to free up valuable resources by decreasing alcohol’s burden on our health care systems,” lead researcher Adam Sherk said in a university news release. “This report adds to the growing body of evidence that minimum unit pricing policies are an effective way for governments to reduce alcohol-related hospital visits and save lives.”
The findings are published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.