University of Sheffield research calls for 'minimum alcohol price' to save lives

The University of Sheffield.
The University of Sheffield.
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A national charity is calling for the introduction of a minimum price on alcoholic drinks after research from the University of Sheffield showed the move could save lives.

Addaction, one of the country's largest charities for treating people with alcohol addiction, wants England to follow Scotland's lead in introducing minimum unit pricing.

A pint of beer.

A pint of beer.

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The organisation cited a report by the university's Sheffield Alcohol Research Group which called for minimum pricing of 45p per alcoholic unit.

The research suggested this would reduce annual consumption by about 1.6 per cent among the general population and by 3.7 per cent among harmful drinkers.

It is thought this would also lead to a reduction in deaths and hospital admissions among high risk drinkers who purchase large quantities of low cost alcohol.

Karen Tyrell, spokesperson for Addaction said: “The evidence is undeniable.

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"Alcohol-related hospital admissions have doubled over a 10 year period and admissions for alcoholic liver disease increased by 87 per cent.

"Cheap alcohol is hurting those most in need of our help. Minimum unit pricing works.”

As of May 1, it is now illegal for Scottish shops, off licences and supermarkets to sell alcohol for less than 50p per unit.

Scotland became the first country in the world to introduce the minimum cost after ministers were concerned that a two-litre bottle of strong cider, which contained more than the weekly recommended limit for alcohol of 14 units, could be bought for as little as £2.50.

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It will now cost at least £7.50.

Ms Tyrell added: "This is sound, evidence-based policy making. It’s a good day for Scotland and this is a policy that should urgently make the journey south of the border.

"Minimum unit pricing would save lives in England.”