Daily Archives: 01/09/2014

Alcohol tax urged to fund abstinence-based rehab

Now I like this idea but as Dr Sheron’s research discussed it is not as as effective as Minimum Unit Pricing.

From the BBC News website:

Drink and drug addicts should be treated in abstinence-based treatment centres paid for with a new tax on alcohol, a think tank has urged.

The Centre for Social Justice said that by 2024, a ring-fenced “treatment tax” would put up the cost of alcohol bought in shops by 2p per unit.

It is among a number of measures recommended to tackle addiction.

The Department of Health said councils’ £5.4bn public health budgets would help them address alcohol harm.  

The CSJ, which seeks to tackle poverty and its causes, wants the government to fund treatment centres for 58,000 addicts per year by 2024.

Its report says 300,000 people in England are addicted to opiates and/or crack, 1.6 million are dependent on alcohol and one in seven children under the age of one lives with a substance-abusing parent.

The measures are set out in its Ambitious for Recovery report (not all of which I agree with)

The treatment tax proposal would see a levy of 1p per unit of alcohol added on drinks purchased outside pubs by the end of the next Parliament, rising to 2p by 2024, the CSJ said.

This could mean about 18p added to the price of a bottle of wine after 2024.

The think tank estimated it would raise £155m a year from 2015, rising to about £520m a year from 2024.

The CSJ’s director, Christian Guy, told BBC Breakfast: “At the moment we do very little for alcoholics, and for drug addicts we just dump them on methadone.

“The chance to get clean in this country is the preserve of the wealthy. For the poor, for the people relying on a public system, there’s very little choice to get clean.”

Sally Marlow, an alcohol addiction specialist, said there were “problems with the proposal”.

But she added: “If we’re going to sell it, if we’re going to legitimise it and say we sanction alcohol then we have a duty also to say to the people who get into trouble with it, ‘we’ll help you with it – we’ll help you get out of the trouble that you’re in’.”

The CSJ made a similar proposal in 2007 when the current Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith was in charge of the think tank.

This chimes with what Russell Brand said in his addiction and recovery documentary that I talked about here.  What is worrying is that this has been proposed before over 7 years ago and yet no action has been taken.  What’s to stop no action being taken for another 7 years following this report?

20 days to go