In the Media

Letters: Anti-alcohol lesson from Scotland

PUBLISHED November 1, 2011

The government needs to show the strong leadership and clear intent of its Scottish counterpart and introduce an alcohol minimum pricing bill if it is serious about calling time on alcohol misuse ( Report , 27 October). Here in Co Durham and Darlington, we have a huge problem. A big percentage of our violent crime is alcohol-related and we have some of the highest rates of alcohol-related hospital admissions in the country. Too many people are consuming too much alcohol. Research shows that as price has decreased, consumption has increased ? the average person is drinking almost 11 litres of alcohol a year, more than twice the average consumption in the 1950s. We need more effective solutions. Evidence suggests introduction of a minimum price per unit of alcohol would make alcohol less affordable, thus reducing consumption and in turn the associated harm. A report produced today by a number of harm-reduction organisations ? including Balance , the north-east's alcohol office, contains a survey of more than 600 alcohol products sold in supermarkets across northern England and Scotland, revealing cans of lager for as little as 23p, two-litre bottles of cider for ?1.34, a shot of vodka for 28p and a unit of alcohol for just 12p. It's little wonder that a third of north-easterners are drinking above the government's recommended limits on a daily or almost daily basis, that one in five binge-drinks weekly, and that we face the problems we do. Given we are consuming alcohol at a similar level to Scotland, we face the same problems in terms of health and crime and disorder, and we are selling alcohol as cheaply if not more so ? shouldn't we be following Scotland's example? Jon Stoddart Chief constable, Durham Constabulary Alcohol Crime © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds