Are minimum prices for alcohol the answer to teenage drinking ?

With the increasing scurge of teenage binge drinking an MP who is also a doctor has recently called for an increase in minimum alcohol prices in an attempt to reduce the harm caused by alcohol in this vulnerable age group.

Another study has come out this week showing that some children as young as 12 years of age are already regular drinkers http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-15511018

In the area where I live the drink of choice for teenagers seems to be cheap vodka & cheap wine which are both readily and easily available in most supermarkets.

When alcohol was only available through off licenses and public houses was teenage drinking less of a problem ?

Maybe alcohol is now too readily available to us all. It is so easy to pop a couple of bottles in your trolley when you are doing your grocery shop.

Maybe the teenagers are taking the alcohol from their parents without their knowledge.

Evidence suggest that increasing the prices of alcohol may help to reduce consumption but should we be going further and making alcohol less easily available to teenagers ?

Do we encourage responsible drinking in our youngsters or should we operate a zero tolerance ?

.  Maybe we need to bring back the locked drinks cabinet & the off license! Let us know your thoughts in comments.

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4 thoughts on “Are minimum prices for alcohol the answer to teenage drinking ?

  1. Just been reading online that the incidence of alcoholic liver disease is reaching almost epidemic proportions and that it is affecting a younger age group.

    Here is the link to the article which makes alarming reading

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-16000520

    I feel that the relaxed regulations on the sale of alcohol & the availability of cheap alcohol must be a factor in this as well as the drinking culture.

    The fact that some teenagers are starting to drink as young as 12 and 13 years of age must mean that this is just going to get worse, as alcoholic liver disease takes years to develop.

  2. Totally agree with you both and further more these same people give no money to help people who then go on to develop problems.
    In comparison the Gambling industry willing pay a percentage (Beacuse if not the Government will impose a levy) to pay for a helpline, counselling and education to those who have issues surrounding gambling.
    Why not inpose a tax similar to this on the drinks industry.
    Also Smoking has been made socially unacceptable and huge sums of money spent on tackling the problem and yet with drinking now causing more deaths and more than 1 million admissions to hospital last year which were alcohol realted nothing happens

  3. I must say I agree with Matt that the supermarkets bear some responsibility for the problem. I was shocked recently when I was doing my shopping with my two teenagers at a local supermarket to find that the supermarket had a huge display of alco pops & cheap cans of multipack lagers on offer next to the checkout where the sweets used to be. It was prom season for the 16 year olds and the supermarket was clearly trying to cash in-they were even on special offer and in extra large packs !

    It used to be hard enough to say no to sweets now parents are being tortured by cheap alcohol next to the checkouts. I think the alcohol should be confined to the alcohol aisles of the supermarkets andf not in the entrance or checkout areas.

  4. Teenage binge drinking will always be a problem in supermarkets if they continue to sell their own brand alcohol at such cheap prices, along with special offer deals such as any 2 litres of spirits for £16. Although these offers are aimed at people of a legal age, teenagers(especially in large groups) see these deals as cheap ways to get intoxicated.

    What makes the task of enforcing these regulations for the police service even harder is the fact that many young teenagers have older siblings/friends(of legal age)who are happy to buy it for them, although there are fines in place for people buying alcohol for the underage, I feel these fines are not substantial enough to deter people from purchasing alcohol for the underage.

    Finally, a way in which I believe can help stop the large amount of teenage drinkers is by changing the prices in supermarkets etc to a much higher price, this alone would stop teenagers buying such cheap alcohol. I feel a price hike especially on spirits would help this issue. Also if pubs can make their prices cheaper, it will pull in more customers and stop people buying lots of alcohol in the supermarkets(which their children could potentially steal to get drunk!)

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