Monthly Archives: May 2016

Alcohol-related crime and the 24-hour city: London (updated)

nighttubemap-

 

 

 

 

 

This was featured on the Mayor of London/London Assembly website in March looking at the night time economy (NTE) and alcohol-related crime.

The Mayor is committed to growing the capital’s Night-Time Economy (NTE) and has proposed appointing a ‘Night Mayor’. This, coupled with the introduction of the Night-Tube, means that London is well on its way to becoming a 24-hour city.

A report published today by the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee‘Policing the Night-Time Economy[1]’ – assesses the challenges associated with policing London’s growing NTE, in particular the extent to which crime linked to alcohol consumption puts pressure on policing resources.

The findings in the report include:

  • There appears to be a correlation between alcohol and violent crime.
  • London has more alcohol-related recorded crime than any other region in England.
  • Areas where the NTE is thriving have the highest rates of night-time violence.
  • While crime rates are broadly down across the capital, violent crime is rising.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including:

  • The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) should lobby the Home Office for the introduction of a national definition of ‘alcohol-related’ crime.
  • MOPAC should examine whether changes to licensing arrangements in London could alleviate any identified pressure on policing.
  • The Met Police and MOPAC should review the demand that the NTE places, and will place in the future, on borough-based policing.
  • NHS England should press for the sharing of information between London hospitals and the Met to be a mandatory requirement, to help inform crime reduction responses

Chair of the Police and Crime Committee, Joanne McCartney AM, said;

“The Night-Time Economy (NTE) plays a significant role in what London has to offer to both residents and visitors alike. Our report recognises the benefits that a prosperous NTE can bring to the capital in terms of employment and business revenue, as well as entertainment. But it also recognises that with this comes a distinctive policing challenge.

We’ve identified a lack of clarity as to what constitutes ‘alcohol-related crime’, which causes difficulties when monitoring and policing the NTE.

The data we do have indicates a correlation between London’s NTE hotspots, violent crime and alcohol consumption. It is a concern that MOPAC’s figures suggest that violence with injury offences are more likely to occur in areas with a thriving NTE.”

Policing the Night Time Economy (pdf)

Edited to add 1st June 2016:

New online treatment evidence course starts 1 June

On 1 June Drug and Alcohol Findings begins a fully updated course on alcohol treatment research in the form of a fortnightly, cell-by-cell ‘bite-size’ introduction to the Alcohol Treatment Matrix – the ‘matrix bites’ course | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Three Day Week-end Treats :)

botoniqueSomething to drink and something to watch on a Bank Holiday Monday!  Three Day Week-end Treats 🙂  The drink is new and I need to thank Hilary Marsh at Genius Drinks Limited for not 1 or 2 bottles to sample but 3!!  It is called Botonique and is described as ‘the botanical soft drink for wine lovers’ and you can find out more about it here: http://botonique.com/

How to serve

  • Well chilled or over ice
  • In a Champagne flute for maximum bubbles
  • In a wine glass for less bubbles
  • Give it a stir if you don’t want the bubbles

When to serve

Anytime you fancy a “proper” drink, including:

  • Pre-dinner aperitif
  • To accompany Asian or Oriental cuisine, seafood, fish, sushi, anti-pasta, goats cheese and a range of other foods
  • Sorbet drink to refresh the palate

What is it?

Most soft drinks are far too sweet – until Botonique.  Botonique is a sparkling blend of botanical extracts and nutrients, crisp & refreshing, deliciously dry.

Botonique is packed with Prelixir® nutrients – relevant vitamins, minerals and amino acids which are the building blocks of life.  You can learn more at PrelixirNutrient.com

As the name suggests, Botonique is rich in botanical extracts, which provide the natural flavours as well as well as health benefits. We only name two of them – Milk Thistle Seed and Panax Ginseng – keeping the rest as our trade secret. But the secrecy doesn’t make them any less beneficial!

Mocktails

Botonique can be transformed into a variety of enticing drinks with the addition of cordials such as elderflower, juices such as grapefruit, or garnishes such as:

  • Strawberry & black pepper
  • Lemon & ginger
  • Cucumber, lime & mint
  • Pineapple & sage

Coconut water is also good, creating a softer, fatter mouth feel – and making your coconut water much more healthy & delicious!

So with alcohol free filled glass in hand you can now watch this that aired on BBC One last Thursday and is available on iPlayer for 29 days:

The Truth About Alcohol

So how did we enjoy our Botonique?  Chilled with a dash of Grenadine so it looked like a sparkling rose 🙂  Yum!

 

Why do humans like to get drunk? You asked Google – here’s the answer

booze autocomplete google March 2016I really liked this Guardian article in March about booze and getting drunk.  None of the information in the piece is new to readers of this blog and I cover this topic in detail within my Udemy course 🙂

Alcohol is a very simple molecule with incredibly complex effects. Although I already knew a bit about the neurobiology of alcohol, I just spent an afternoon reading a dense journal article that described roughly 50 different neural mechanisms it affects. After which I felt like I needed a drink. It’s widely known that alcohol reduces stress temporarily, and many people use it for just that purpose. It reduces stress by increasing the uptake of a neurotransmitter called GABA, the brain’s primary inhibitory molecule. (And by “inhibitory” I don’t mean that it makes you feel inhibited. Quite the opposite, of course.) By sending more GABA to your brain cells, alcohol works much like common tranquillising drugs such as Valium and Xanax. That’s why you start to stumble and slur if you drink too much. But alcohol acts on many other neurotransmitters too.

I’ll mention three important ones and show how they contribute to the joys of inebriation. While alcohol increases GABA, it reduces the uptake of glutamate, the brain’s premier excitatory molecule. Less excitation and more inhibition? That sounds like simple summation, but GABA and glutamate have different effects on different brain regions, and that’s where things get complicated. In the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain you use for thinking and planning, the net effect is inhibition. That’s why your judgment is flawed, your decision-making is set to “whatever” and your ability to see things from any perspective other than your own approaches nil. The remarkable side effect of this general dimming is that your thoughts seem amazingly clear – which is nice – while in reality they are just amazingly limited. Meanwhile, GABA is also busy turning off the brakes on a system that releases dopamine, the molecule that takes centre stage in all varieties of addiction. What’s that again? Well, when you take off the brakes, the car starts to move. So what you get is a stream of dopamine coursing into the striatum (or reward system), the brain part that generates desire, anticipation and (once you’ve finally brought the glass to your lips) pleasure.

So far, you’ve got physical relaxation, which diminishes stress, reduced judgment, allowing you to talk and behave however you want, and stimulation of the brain’s reward system, which makes you feel like something nice is about to happen. But the fourth neurotransmitter tops the bill: opioids. Sometimes called endorphins or internal opiates, they get released by alcohol too. Everyone knows that opiates feel good, but did you know that you can get your opiates legally by downing a stiff drink? The American martini – which consists of three ounces of gin and little else – feels particularly nice for a very simple reason. The faster the alcohol goes in, the more internal opiates get released. Hence the aaaaahhhhh.

Given all the things that make up an alcohol high, it shouldn’t be surprising that inebriation feels different to different people, feels different from the first to the last drink, and definitely feels different once it becomes hard to stop. People who carry around a lot of stress drink to relax. People who spend a lot of energy controlling their impulses drink in order to let themselves go. The first drink of the night excites you, the last drink of the night sedates, and that isn’t nearly as much fun. College kids indulge in binge-drinking because they’re still bright-eyed novices when it comes to taking chemicals that alter their mood – the more the merrier. Twenty years later, they may drink to feel less, not more, because life has become oppressive, and anxieties seem ready to spring from every train of thought.

But once people become addicted to alcohol, as many do, the fun of the high is eclipsed by two opposing fears. The fear of going without, versus the fear of being unable to stop. That clash of concerns comes from several sources. First there are the unpleasant bodily effects that plague big drinkers when they stop for a few hours or, worse, a few days. Add to that the emotional emptiness, depression, and increased stress responsiveness that overcome the drinker’s mood at the same time. Taken together, these effects make up what George F Koob calls the dark side of addiction. But I think the real bogeyman, the unbeatable Catch-22 when it comes to alcohol and other drugs, is the realisation that the thing you rely on to relax is the very thing that stresses you out the most. It’s hard to find a way out of the recurrent cycle of anxiety and temporary relief, over and over, and that’s the epitome of a losing battle.

People like to get drunk because alcohol smacks your brain around in a number of ways that feel pleasant, or at least different, or at the very least better than going without. And that’s really how all mood-altering drugs work. Which is generally OK, because recreational drug use, including drinking, doesn’t lead to addiction for most people. But for those who get caught, the fun soon disappears.

Drugs, including alcohol, fashion neural habits: get it, take it, lose it, then get it again. And those habits narrow the brain’s focus to a very singular goal, at the expense of everything else. The striatum – the brain’s reward system – is responsible, not just for pleasure, but more seriously, for feelings of desire. And desire isn’t fun, unless you’re just about to get whatever it is you want. Then, the more you get it, the more your striatum gets tuned by that surge of dopamine, modifying its synaptic wiring a little bit at a time until other goals just don’t count for much.

But alcohol has one advantage over drugs like heroin and cocaine. It’s legal, and socially sanctioned. In fact drinking has become deeply enmeshed with themes of social engagement, joyful celebrations and all the rest of it.

Drinking doesn’t make you a bad person – in fact it seems to put you in good company and thereby make you a good person – if you can resist its addictive lure. The problem is that people who start to drink too much get pulled by two conflicting emotional beacons: feelings of connecting with those around them and feelings of shame that toxify those relationships. That’s a conflict of interest that gets increasingly difficult to resolve. So, just as they say in the fine print on the back of the bottle: “know your limits”.

Know your limits and when to ask for help if for you the fun has disappeared ……

Friday Sober Jukebox – The Boys Are Back in Town

Boys are back in townSo I don’t know if I’m just hankering for an excuse to put a photo of DCI Hunt from the excellent TV series Life On Mars up (who I loved) but there have been a couple of news stories of late about men and drinking that link this image and Thin Lizzy (which also featured heavily in the series) tune that the jukebox is featuring – ‘the boys are back in town’ in my head.  Male sober bloggers are a rarer breed and so when I see a news article featuring the voices of men I am heartened.  Like this ‘comment is free‘ in The Guardian recently:

What it’s like to quit drinking, by those who’ve done it – or are trying

Brits’ relationship with alcohol has come under the spotlight, with experts calling for warnings on all alcohol – and saying that men in particular refuse to believe the risks. This comes as data shows that millions of middle-aged men drink more than is recommended in new government guidelines – the limit was lowered in January for men from 21 units a week to 14, the same as women.

For some, their relationship with alcohol is such that they decide to stop drinking completely, either for life or for a few months. This can be for a variety of reasons – to tackle more severe problems such as alcoholism or simply for better health.

We spoke to five people about the moment they decided to quit, and how hard it was. Here are their stories

Steve Craftman, south Wales: I never feel more alone than when I’m with a group of partying drunks

Max Dalda Müller, Somerset: I was drinking 15-20 cans of Special Brew a day

Charlie Doeg-Smith Dundee: I intend to give up for good but I know it won’t be easy

Anonymous, London: I managed to pull myself back from the brink

Here’s the Drinkaware charity news release that prompted the responders above and the original news story:

Experts call for warnings on all alcohol as men refuse to believe risks

“More than half (53%) of middle-aged men drinking above the low-risk guidelines do not believe they will incur increased health problems if they continue drinking at their current level, with almost half (49%) of these drinkers also believing moderate drinking is good for your health,” says the organisation.

It also prompted this considered response from Alcohol Policy UK:

Do risky drinkers consider their drinking ‘problematic’?

Understanding how many at risk drinkers do not consider themselves to be, and the reasons behind this, can be considered important from policy and practitioner perspectives. Interventions tend only to be effective where they appreciate the drinker’s beliefs and motivations; brief intervention approaches may sometimes ‘work’ because they initiate awareness of risk in the first instance, or for others because they help a person to resolve ‘ambivalence’ and enhance motivation.

Maybe there is something of the Gene Genie (aka DCI Gene Hunt) about this denial of the risk of alcohol to men?  Maybe some male readers of my blog would like to share their thoughts 🙂

Over to Phil Lynott & Thin Lizzy 😉

PHE One You

PHE One YouIn March Public Health England (PHE) launched their brand new health campaign One You. They reported that the response so far was fantastic and they were delighted to see such a positive reaction in the media, from our partners and from the public online.

The image is a screen grab of what it looks like and here are some of the categories and areas for information around drinking.

Drink and you

It may seem like you don’t drink much, but a drink or two most evenings can do harm to your body. From making you gain weight to increasing your risk of cancer, alcohol can have serious effects on your body.

The more you drink, and the more often, the greater the risk to your health.

It has further information headings covering being drunk, booze and your body and other health worries.

Why cut down?

If you regularly drink above the lower risk guidelines, cutting back on alcohol can help your general wellbeing. Once you start cutting back, you’ll probably notice the benefits. The biggest benefit is the reduced risk to your health, but there are lots of others, too.

Medical warning: If you have physical withdrawal symptoms (shaking, sweating or feelings of anxiety until you have your first drink of the day) you should take medical advice before stopping completely – it can be dangerous to do this too quickly and without proper advice and support. Call Drinkline free on 0300 123 1110 for more advice.

Further subheadings look at: Be healthier, save some cash and feel full of beans.

Drink less

It’s important to know how much you are drinking and that there are easy ways you can cut back, without cutting alcohol out completely.

You could try making some simple swaps when you’re out, or, if you drink every day, having at least a couple of booze-free nights each week.

And further advice entitled: Tools to cut down, top tips to drink less and need more support.

Read more at https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/drinking#3ojU5h2PDSQRhXjK.99

It looks really good and is an improvement on the Change for Life campaign in my opinion.  Thanks Public Health England! 🙂

PS New header image time – the Great Barrier Reef in preparation for our summer 1000 day reward 😉

Fresh calls to revisit £21 billion cost figure

annual cost of alcohol harmThis was an excellent write up by Alcohol Policy UK of a new article in Addiction in March looking at calls to revisit the costs of alcohol-related harm.  This is what they had to say:

A new journal article has prompted fresh calls for a comprehensive analysis into the costs of alcohol to society. The study suggests the widely cited £21 billion figure relies on data that is ‘between 4 and 12 years out of date’ and is susceptible to a number of different assumptions. See Politics UK article

Authored by Institute of Alcohol Studies’ (IAS) policy analyst Aveek Bhattacharya, the paper also argues that policy-makers, academics and non-governmental organisations should be more careful in their use of these numbers. The cost to society is often central to arguments for stronger alcohol policy – £21 billion is around double the amount generated from alcohol tax revenue. However opponents have often questioned the figure’s relevance, or inferred only ‘direct’ costs to the taxpayer should be considered. The analysis though suggest while ‘narrower’ estimates may be relevant in specific contexts, ‘optimal policy should take a holistic view of all the relevant costs and benefits’. 

No doubt then a detailed revision to the figure, which originates from a 2003 Cabinet analysis [pdf]would be widely welcomed. However a parliamentary question last year identified the Government had ‘no plans’ to commission a further review of the costs. Last year a Findings bulletin explored some of the history behind the figures, and a series of studies exploring various issues of alcohol costs to society are open access.

Why might the Government not wish to undertake this work? Perhaps because resources are increasingly under pressure, and indeed it is a complex question to answer. Crucially, identifying the ‘indirect’ costs leads to a series of difficult questions, but without which will only under-estimate the relevant costs to society. An issue that is also raised in debates over how tax may be used to recoup or indeed prevent alcohol harms and associated costs. Recent budget decisions have not been sympathetic to calls from public health groups on this issue.

My mother gets drunk pretty much every night and I don’t know what to do

question markThis was an open letter in The Guardian Life and Style Private Lives in March about a parent who is drunk every night from a concerned adult family member.  There are over 240 comments in response and I will highlight only the first two but some of the rest are worth a read.

It has become clear that my mother drinks far too much and does not have it under control. She seems to get drunk pretty much every night (drinking 15 units-plus) and I regularly see her start earlier, drink faster and finish later than anybody else, as well as “needing” a drink by mid-to-late afternoon most days. There are times when I won’t call past 9pm because I know she will be slurring, and maintaining a conversation is hard. The idea that if I had kids, I might not want to leave them with her, is particularly hard.

However, I am not sure she recognises this as a problem. We were always a family where drinking was just something we did. I feel I can see the impact of it on her physical health, mental sharpness and mood, and can’t sit by and condone it any longer. She doesn’t have any other close family left in the country, so it falls to me to talk to her, but I think she might react badly to being told what to do, or just deny things. What can I do? Should I be so frustrated that this has been left to me to deal with?

Comment most recommended:

I had exactly the same problem with my mother a few years ago. She always enjoyed a drink but it got to the point where she ‘bookended’ her days with alcohol. Her health had deteriorated; she was dangerously underweight and was easily agitated and confused. There were a number of incidents which made her private issue a very public one. Her friends felt they couldn’t intervene because they shared her lifestyle, and I was the only family member who could confront her; I reasoned that if I left her, she wouldn’t have survived another 6 months.

I had a number of different phone conversations with her, until I travelled up and stayed with her for a week. Those were some of the worst days of my life, and possibly hers too. We had blazing rows every day and were both in tears constantly.

She came to see me a few months later and had gained nearly a stone. While she still had a few drinks during her time with me, she also ate (relatively) heartily and kept it down (or up!). She kept the weight on and had plans to travel until her untimely death less than a year later due to an unrelated illness.

She had written me a card after my visit which, among other things, acknowledged her problem. This was half her battle won; she had a private agony which she had deliberately acknowledged to someone else, thereby ‘inviting’ me into that part of her life. Our love for one another strengthened due to and in spite of her issues.

This is not a prescription for action to you; I just thought that if you did consider some sort of intervention, it might give you a perspective on what good may perhaps come from it. Of course everyone has different personalities and family ties so what happened to us might not happen to you both.

Good luck to you in whatever you decide.

Second most recommended comment:

It hasn’t been left to you to deal with. It’s her problem and she has to take responsibility for it or live with the consequences if she doesn’t. Which is not to say you can’t try to intervene, and offer all the support you can if she’s willing to accept it, but ultimately this is not your burden.

240 comments within 3 days suggests to me this  is an issue for many of us …….

The Drink Less Alcohol research app

UCL drink less appA new app with added research benefits!!  This app shows how your drinking is changing, how close you are to achieving your goals and some simple things you can do today to drink less.  It’s been developed by the UCL Centre for Behaviour Change, London

Drink less alcohol app

FAQs

So what’s this experiment you’re running?

We’re testing which app components are most effective at helping people reduce their drinking. We know that certain techniques work when delivered face-to-face but we don’t know how well they work when delivered by an app. The findings will form the core part of the PhDs that David Crane and Claire Garnett are completing at UCL and will hopefully help other researchers understand more about this important area.

Do I have to take part in the experiment to use the app?

No, all the app’s features will work regardless whether you participate in the experiment or not and you can opt-out of it at any time. However, we’d greatly appreciate it if you took part fully, as the information you give us will help us understand which techniques are most efective at helping people drink less.

Do I have to give you my email address?

No, and you can use the app fully either way. If you give us your address all we’ll do is email you with a brief questionnaire, the answers to which will help us learn which techniques have and haven’t worked. Plus, you’ll be entered into a draw to win a £100 voucher.

Is my information safe and am I anonymous?

Yes and yes. We treat your data with the greatest respect and make sure it’s both anonymised and stored securely.

What else can I do?

There’s a good few options in the app itself. Have a play around, you probably won’t break anything.

Any other questions? Please get in touch.

Edited to add: back from the seaside and these news stories appeared relating to this app last week!

New brain-training tool to help people cut drinking

An internationally-renowned LSE expert on happiness and behaviour has launched a free online tool to help people who want to cut down on alcohol | LSE, UK

Drink Less: Get help reducing the amount of alcohol you consume – free app

Are you looking to cut down how much you drink? If so, we can help. Drink Less is a super-easy to use app that allows you to keep track of how much you drink, set goals to drink less, get feedback on whether what you’re doing is working and access some unique and fun ways of changing your attitude towards alcohol |  Susan Michie, UK

Friday Sober Jukebox – We are family

SUMA researchThis song feels appropriate today seeing as it is my son’s birthday!  We are off as a family to the seaside for the week-end to celebrate 🙂

It also feels appropriate because it resonates with some excellent research that the University of Southampton have completed exploring the success of mutual aid in recovery as represented by the Soberistas website.  The image to the left represents the different stages relating to online identity and alcohol use that the researchers found during their grounded research qualitative study.  You can watch the full 13 minute presentation here:

http://www.fead.org.uk/video/sophie-chambers-the-suma-project-soberistas-understanding-a-new-form-of-mutual-aid/

SUMA sampleThis was a robust qualitative study that covered a wide representative demographic.  It was such a positive and optimistic research study of the phenomena that we know only too well out here in the soberverse to do with identity transformation.  How people can change their drinking with no professional intervention through the support of others role-modelling the behaviour around them whether as part of a fee paying community such as Soberistas, or all the other free groups that I am aware of: the BFB on FB & Yahoo, SWANS, Living Sober, Club Soda – the list is ever growing!  Plus I think that’s what us sober bloggers do too – people can come and read our stories and identify and that helps them to feel less alone and to think that change is possible.  It it both empowering and affirming to read research findings to support what we instinctively know and feel.

So over to that tune!  I feel we are a family out here too so this tune is for both my son and you my sober online family 🙂

PS I’ve been approached by the University of Southern California asking for your help in some research they are doing.

We’re interested in hearing about people’s experiences in addiction and recovery. If you are aged 18 or older, believe you have ever been addicted to drugs, alcohol, or another substance, and you have substantially reduced or entirely stopped use at any point, you are eligible to participate in our study. The study consists of an online and completely anonymous survey. We estimate that the study will take between ten and twenty minutes. Participation is voluntary.

Here is the link to the survey: https://usc.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_bPC9XJshl4MBatL 

Thank you!

Dereliction of duty: Are UK alcohol taxes too low?

pigouvian taxationThis is a new report from the Institute of Alcohol Studies, that claims that the Government’s own estimates of the social costs of alcohol imply that alcohol duty should be raised. The report summarises the economic theory underpinning alcohol taxation (including the theory of pigouvian taxation which I’m not even going to try to explain or pretend I understand!) and considers it a dereliction of duty.

Here’s the summary to their report:

There are three standard reasons why governments tax alcohol:

1. Externality Correction: to ensure that alcohol prices reflect the cost to third parties who are harmed by drinking
2. Paternalism: to reduce people’s consumption for their own good
3. Revenue Raising: to fund the government.
The UK Government estimates that externalities associated with alcohol cost England and
Wales £21 billion every year.
Alcohol duty in England and Wales currently generates only £9 billion, less than half of the
value of these externalities.
This suggests higher alcohol taxes can be justified on the basis of the harm drinking
causes to wider society alone, without considering the impact on the drinker themselves.
The lost enjoyment suffered by moderate consumers as a result of alcohol duty is
relatively small – we estimate £1.2 billion (less than 2% of market value) to be the absolute
possible ceiling of the impact. This is dwarfed by the benefits of duty, in terms of reducing
crime, healthcare savings and improving economic output, which total a value of at least
£4.4 billion.
Under certain assumptions, tax revenue should not just equal, but exceed the cost of
externalities:
•If externalities are disproportionately higher at higher  levels of consumption i.e. if moving from the fourth to the fifth drink is substantially worse than moving from the first to the second
•If we think that avoiding harm to third parties should be given greater weight than the enjoyment of drinkers.  There is a strong case for paternalistic taxes on alcohol, as it is highly plausible that many people drink excessively, and this over consumption can be deterred by alcohol taxes – this adds a further reason for raising duty.  Economists are divided as to whether alcohol taxes cause less distortion to the economy than other taxes and are therefore a particularly desirable way of raising government revenue.
The interaction of alcohol taxes with other policies is complicated – stricter licensing and drink driving regulations, all else equal, mean that taxes should be lower.
On balance, these arguments suggest to us that alcohol taxes in the UK are too low.
We believe the Government should be committed to higher alcohol taxes as a result
of its claim that alcohol externalities cost England and Wales £21 billion each year.
And this was the response from Alcohol Policy UK following the recent UK March Budget
A Government release on the duty impacts though says the freeze ‘is likely to lead to a minor increase in overall alcohol consumption in the UK’, as alcohol is of course price sensitive. Indeed on the headline hitting sugar tax announcement, Osborne stated “We understand that tax affects behaviour. So let’s tax the things we want to reduce, not the things we want to encourage.” Twitter of course raised questions, including whether sugary alcoholic drinks would be affected, or whether parallels could be drawn with the 2012 headline grabbing announcement of minimum pricing – subsequently dropped – which was also timed around a budget with less than impressive economic news.
Edited to add 6th June 2016:
Minimum pricing for alcohol targets harm better than tax rises

Whether alcohol tax rises would be an acceptable and effective alternative could determine the legality under EU law of Scotland’s law permitting a minimum unit price for alcohol. This analysis predicts tax rises would curb consumption and save lives, but not without perhaps unacceptably hitting the pockets of non-harmful drinkers | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Bearing in mind there has been a rash of stories in the last few days about rising poisonings amongst teenagers and alcohol is behind this increase one has to question pricing as a factor as the first piece from The Independent does ….

Surge in girls’ alcohol poisoning behind rise in teenage poisonings

The authors said: “One potential explanation for the increase in alcohol poisonings over time is increased availability, with the relative affordability of alcohol in the UK increasing steadily between 1980 and 2012, licensing hours having increased since 2003, and numbers of outlets increasing alongside alcohol harm.”

Sharp rise in UK teen poisonings over past 20 years, particularly among girls

The number of teenage poisonings over the past 20 years in the UK has risen sharply, particularly among girls, according to a new study by researchers at The University of Nottingham | University of Nottingham, UK

Rise in ‘intentional’ alcohol poisoning among teens – BBC iPlayer radio

There has been a sharp rise in the overall number of teen poisonings over the past 20 years in the UK, particularly among girls and young women, according to a new report | BBC, UK

Edited to add: 15th July 2016

Small rise in booze duty might cut violence-fuelled emergency department visits by 6000/year, UK

Tax system reforms in England and Wales might be better than minimum unit pricing | MNT, UK