A new research series from Canada is calling for minimum prices for alcoholic drinks in response of alcohol abuse in the country. The reports come from the Canadian Center on Substance Abuse and the news release is titled, “Canada needs Minimum Alcohol Prices to Reduce Harm: New Research Series”. The series is written by Gerald Thomas, who is the Senior Research and Policy Analyst with the Canadian Center on Substance Abuse.
The research series show that in 2002, the alcohol-related costs to Canadian society amounted to $14.6 billion. The figure includes health care and policing costs. The findings also show that approximately 26% of Canadians drink excessively each month. The 20% top drinkers in the population, who are 15 and older, drank 70% of the total alcohol sold in 2004.
One of the key recommendations the CCSA has is to “consistently implement minimum alcohol pricing to remove inexpensive sources of alcohol from the market.” Some provinces already use a minimum price strategy, however it is not consistent throughout Canada.
The other recommendations include, “Implementing pricing based on alcohol content to create price incentives for lower-strength, less-hazardous products”, and “Indexing prices to inflation to ensure alcohol does not become cheaper compared to other goods over time”.
Gerald Thomas issued a statement on the new research series. “Cheap, high-strength alcohol is often favoured by heavy drinkers and young adults. Establishing minimum pricing will deter risky drinking. Light to moderate drinkers will be less affected, particularly those who choose low- to regular-strength alcohol products.”
Read the full policy briefing, titled “Alcohol Price Policy Series: Reducing Harm To Canadians“.