Expected and actual responses to minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol of people drinking at harmful levels in Scotland

Livingston, Wulf, Holmes, John, Hughes, Jane, Buykx, Penny, Perkins, Andrew, Wright, Alex, Johnston, Allan and MacLean, Alex (2023) Expected and actual responses to minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol of people drinking at harmful levels in Scotland. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy. ISSN 1465-3370

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Background This paper considers the extent to which people drinking at harmful levels responded to minimum unit pricing (MUP) in Scotland in the way they, family members and those providing services anticipated they would. It examines data taken from a larger evaluation of the impact of MUP on people who are drinking at harmful levels. Methods Qualitative interview data, (utilizing interviews and focus groups, with individuals, treatment services, and family members) was generated prior to the implementation of MUP in Scotland to provide insights into anticipated responses and comparable data generated across an extended 19-month period post-implementation and provided insights into actual responses. Results Overall, the data showed consistency between anticipated and actual responses, with fewer differences observed. In line with anticipated responses, many drinkers switched from cheap, strong ciders to other alcohol products, notably vodka. They consistently responded to the decrease in alcohol affordability by utilizing existing behavior such as managing finances and prioritizing spends on alcohol, including borrowing money, foregoing essentials, and using savings. There was less evidence of anticipated harmful consequences of MUP occurring, such as increased crime, switching to other drugs, or examples of acute withdrawal. Conclusions Drinkers and those living and working with them, have a good command of how alcohol affordability is maintained or impacts on expenditure and other choices, and how they respond to any decrease in affordability including the introduction of minimum price policies.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Policy response affordability alcohol drinking behaviour drinking beliefs policy public health Scotland
Divisions: Social and Life Sciences
Depositing User: Hayley Dennis
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2023 12:04
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2023 12:04
URI: https://glyndwr.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/18066

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