How Managing The Price Of Alcohol Is Having An Effect On Addiction
The rising levels of people addicted to alcohol is at a worrying stage across the world. More and more people are checking into alcohol rehab, while there are a growing number of people also not getting the help they need, with more alcohol related deaths than ever before, and more of a strain on hospitals and healthcare because of it.
The price of alcohol has been rising for a number of years now, with the substance being heavily taxed. For many of us, that can be rather annoying, hitting our purse strings harder, when all we want is a quiet pint of beer in the corner of a pub on a Sunday.
However, price is important, and many research studies have shown that the consumption of alcohol is incredibly sensitive to the price of it. In effect, when alcohol is more affordable, more of it is consumed and vice versa.
There has no doubt been a large rise in cost of alcohol over the years, At the end of last year, in the UK, the cost of wine had increased 2.7%, while the price of lager had increased 4.6% as well as 7.8% when it came to stouts and ales.
At the same time, when you bring into play average household income, alcohol is now 74% more affordable than it was in 1987 and in the years between 2008 to 2019 it has become 13% more affordable.
While it’s not the government’s job to price out people of drinking alcohol, of course they do need to manage and maintain the number of people who do have alcohol problems. Therefore it’s a fine balance.
It’s believed that a 10% increase in the price of alcohol reduces consumption by 5%, which in turn has a knock on effect in a number of areas. Firstly, you get a lower number of drinkers and therefore problem drinkers, easing any strain on the NHS and people requiring treatment in rehab, but then there’s also a reduction in the likes of road traffic accident deaths, sexually transmitted diseases, and reports of violence and crime, all which can increase while under the influence of alcohol.
Taxation on alcohol is the main way the government tries to reduce these issues through costings, as well as raising revenue for public services.
Alcohol duty is a controversial topic though, as while it can have an impact on problem drinking, it can also have a hugely negative impact on the wider alcohol industry, with the likes of bars and pubs struggling due to the rising cost, alongside utility bills, making it an incredibly difficult balance that will always have some form of argument around it.
When it comes to public health though, it’s one method, but one that needs to be complemented with many more if we are going to solve the alcohol addiction crisis going on across the UK, and indeed globally.