Alcohol price increases may encourage drug use, report says

08 December, 2010

Young adults could turn to drugs if alcohol becomes more expensive, a new report warns.

Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, published today, also says that on-trade venues are partly encouraging fast and excessive alcohol consumption.

On the subject of pre-loading – drinking at home before a night out – the report says this is not merely a way of preparing for a night out, but a resistance against the kind of bars where intimacy and conversation are made impossible.

The report’s authors added: “For those on the economic margins, the consumption of off-sales alcohol in outdoor or domestic settings was often the only option.

“Alcohol competed with illegal drugs (including black market alcohol) and co-existed with gang-related activities and violence.

“For those already comfortable with the idea of illegal intoxication, price increases and the reduction of availability of alcohol were predicted to promote use of other drugs.”

Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, said: “The issue at the heart of this report is the sad propensity of some young adults to drink to get drunk and that is why the industry is investing millions of pounds in a five-year campaign to change attitudes to drinking.

“Far from changing attitudes, minimum unit pricing would surely encourage young adult consumers to regard alcohol as a commodity rather than something to be enjoyed in moderation in a range of different social settings.”

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