Cheap Alcohol Appeals to Problem Drinkers, Study Finds

About 70 percent of the alcohol consumed by a group of problem drinkers in Scotland had been bought at a discount, according to a study that concluded that heavy drinkers actively seek out cheap alcohol and that setting minimum alcohol prices could cut overconsumption.

The BBC reported Nov. 1 that researchers from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh and the Royal Edinburgh Hospital surveyed 377 people being treated for alcohol problems and found that they paid an average of 43 Scottish pence per unit of alcohol, compared to an average of 72 pence among the general public.

“Because the average unit price paid by these chronically ill patients was considerably lower than the rest of the Scottish population, it is likely that eliminating the cheapest alcohol sales by minimum pricing will result in reduced overall consumption by this group of drinkers with a fairly immediate reduction in serious alcohol-related illnesses in our community,” said study co-author Jonathan Chick of Royal Edinburgh Hospital.

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