Final report on the evaluation of MUP shows the policy has prevented hundreds of deaths
The final report on the evaluation of alcohol shows that minimum unit pricing (MUP) has saved hundreds of lives and reduced overall consumption.
Public Health Scotland released Evaluating the impact of minimum unit pricing for alcohol in Scotland: Final report today.
The final report shows that minimum unit pricing (MUP) in Scotland has directly reduced deaths caused by alcohol consumption by an estimated 13.4%, and also found that hospital admissions have fallen by 4.1 per cent, while the largest reductions were seen in men and those living in the 40 per cent most deprived areas. MUP also led to a 3% reduction in alcohol consumption at a population level, as measured by retail sales.
Clare Beeston, Lead for the evaluation of MUP, Public Health Scotland said:
“We have seen reductions in deaths and hospital admissions directly caused by sustained, high levels of alcohol consumption, and this is further evidence that those drinking at harmful and hazardous levels have reduced their consumption. MUP alone is not enough to address the specific and complex needs of those with alcohol dependence who will often prioritise alcohol over other needs, and it is important to continue to provide services and any wider support that addresses the root cause of their dependence.
“Those living in the most socioeconomically deprived areas in Scotland experience alcohol-specific death rates at least five times greater than those living in the least deprived areas. Alcohol-related disorders are a leading contributor to health inequalities in Scotland.
“Overall, the evidence shows that MUP has had a positive impact on improving health outcomes, including alcohol-related health inequalities, and can play a part in addressing the preventable harm that affect far too many people, families and communities.”
Dr Alastair MacGilchrist, chair of expert clinician partnership, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), said:
“This final evaluation of Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) shows that the policy is effective: MUP has changed drinking behaviours and as a result is saving lives.
“The report makes clear that MUP has reduced the amount of alcohol we drink in Scotland and has consequently reduced hospital admissions and wider harms. And the biggest difference is being made in Scotland’s poorest communities where alcohol harms are felt the greatest.
“MUP’s ultimate measure of success has been its ability to save lives. Each year since its introduction in 2018, over 250 Scottish lives have been saved. For each life saved, this policy has saved families, friends and communities from experiencing a loss due to alcohol.
“The final evaluation also makes clear that any potential unintended negative consequences of MUP - such as impact on business, cross-border purchasing or illicit drug use - have not come to pass.
“However, the effectiveness of MUP is being eroded year on year by the effect of inflation. The current level of 50p was proposed when the legislation was first passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2012, over a decade ago, and it is essential to maintain and increase MUP’s effectiveness for the 50p level to be increased.
“MSPs must now act on the evidence and vote to keep MUP on our statute books and to uprate the level to at least 65p. Policy makers have a responsibility to protect and enhance our health by maintaining this life-saving policy.”