Minimum Unit Pricing
The recent change in Irish law to introduce a Minimum Unit Pricing on alcohol has now come into effect. I am of the opinion that this is a clear step in the right direction, and here’s why…
There are three types of alcohol consumers in Ireland:
Normal drinkers (50% of population); harmful and hazardous drinkers who consume more than recommended safety levels (40%), and those with a dependency on alcohol (10%).
The statistic that 3 people die per day in Ireland of alcohol related illnesses indicates that we really need a change in approach. Reducing access to strong, cheap alcohol will have a positive effect on all harmful consumption, as high-risk drinkers are more likely to use these products. A recent article in The Irish Examiner goes into interesting detail.
Cultural shift towards alcohol consumption
But change should not stop there. There also needs to be a huge cultural shift in our hesitancy to address the issue of harmful alcohol consumption. Without a systemic intervention, like the ones introduced to tackle smoking, plastic bags, and climate change, we will be pushing the rock up a mountain while the vested interests line up to push it back down again.
I, for one, know how hard it is to implement this change. Back in 1977, a Medical Consultant in Baggot street hospital convinced me that my liver function could not and would not withstand the level of alcohol consumption I was up to. I was 27 years old when I came into recovery and the rest is history, up to today.
If you, or anyone you know, are struggling with topics raised in this blog please contact me for advice on how to move forward.