Northern Ireland to introduce Minimum Unit Pricing for alcohol
Northern Ireland is planning to introduce Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) for alcohol, in order to reduce the harmful effects caused by alcohol consumption.
The move is based on a research conducted by the University of Sheffield, and commissioned by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) and the Department for Social Development (DSD).
According to the research findings, MUP will help reduce alcohol consumption which will in turn lead to decrease in alcohol-related deaths, alcohol-related hospital admissions, crime and absenteeism.
MUP, which sets a baseline below which alcohol cannot be sold, is expected to make a greater impact on heavy drinkers who make up around 20% of the population but drink almost 70% of all the alcohol consumed in the region.
Northern Ireland Health Minister Jim Wells said: "The level of harm caused by excessive alcohol consumption in Northern Ireland is staggering. The total cost to the Northern Ireland economy is estimated to be as high as £900million per year, with the burden to healthcare alone costing up to £240million per year.
"However, this financial burden can never fully describe the incalculable impact that alcohol misuse has on individuals, on families, and on our communities in Northern Ireland. Alcohol misuse remains a significant public health issue for Northern Ireland. We owe it to those individuals who drink heavily, and their families, to do something about this."
Image: The report shows that MUP can help in reducing alcohol consumption. Photo: courtesy of thephotoholic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.