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Availability is the key to tackling the abuse of alcohol

COMPARED to my contemporaries and me, subsequent generations drink more alcohol and more frequently than we did.

I am however concerned, with the announcement that England intends to follow Scotland with a minimum pricing policy, that "experts" confidently guarantee that the policy will reduce alcohol consumption by those groups who currently are considered to be abusing alcohol ("Minimum alcohol pricing breaches EU trade rules", The Herald, November 29).

It is difficult to find any evidence to categorically prove that an increase in unit price will result in a direct reduction in alcohol abuse. Expert opinion appears to simply be a guess based on observations that, when the price of alcohol is reduced in countries where it has been prohibitively expensive or where prohibition was previously the norm, that alcohol consumption escalates. I think it dangerous to extrapolate from this that a price increase will reduce consumption when there is no attempt to reduce availability or pay heed to other social factors.

People of my generation have witnessed a sea-change in where and when one can buy alcohol yet this major significant fact is completely ignored. Perhaps the way forwards should be a return to a policy where the sale of alcohol was limited to stand-alone off-licences and current legislation was applied vigorously. Then we could avoid the collective punishment of the poor that is the reality of the minimum pricing policy.

David J Crawford,

Flat 3/3 131 Shuna Street,


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