New Plans To Keep Scotland Sober
It is a sad fact that many people in Scotland are facing a day to day battle with drug and alcohol abuse. The country is known for having a drinking culture, where, for a large percentage of the population, taking drugs and drinking has become an everyday part of life. Many have seen their alcohol intake detartrate from being a social drink with friends or colleagues at the weekend or during a special occasion, to becoming a regular occurrence. It is not too hard to see a drug or alcohol problem to get out of control and take over a person’s life. Just as it has done for hundreds of thousands of people across the country.
However, down the years, various steps have been taken to try and combat the problem. The Scottish government have considered different plans and propositions in an attempt to find a solution to the seemingly ever-increasing problem of alcohol abuse in Scotland. The question of what can be done to try and reduce the number of people living with alcoholism or cutting down how much people drink. This is as well as helping resolve some of the problems commonly associated with alcohol, such as public intoxication, assault and cases of domestic abuse.
It is an issue which affects a cross section of the population and has crossed the political divide. There have been many suggestions on how to deal with the situation from monitoring licensing laws to changing pub opening times. However, one of the most important steps took place in 2012, when the Scottish government considered bringing in minimum unit pricing for alcohol as a way to curb drinking. Initially, the Scottish Conservative Party was opposed to the plan, but the leader Ruth Davidson eventually gave her support, if the SNP would repeal the legislation in a period of five years if it didn’t pan out. These were alongside questions or objections from the other political parties.
However, the Scottish government saw minimum unit pricing on alcohol as essential for dealing with the rise of alcohol abuse in Scotland. Thus cutting down the mass availability of cheap strong alcohol.
The Scottish Parliament originally passed the Alcohol Minimum Pricing (Scotland) Bill in May 2012, although it was held back when the Scotch Whisky Association brought legal action.
The Bill has now become law and came into effect on the 1st of May, 2018. Scotland now has minimum alcohol pricing. This designates the lowest possible price an alcoholic drink can be sold for in Scotland, which has been set 50p per unit.
You should be aware of stronger drinks which have more units of alcohol have a greater minimum price than those with a smaller amount of alcohol. Drinks with a higher minimum price can range from those with a larger volume, such as strong white cider, own brand gin and vodka, along with super strength lager.
Minimum alcohol pricing is aimed at helping hardened drinkers who may be causing the most harm to themselves and may be in the worst health. It is felt increasing the price of alcohol may dissuade some people from buying too much.
One year on we are hoping to see positive results from this change in the law and it will be interesting to note its impact when the NHS Health Scotland Monitoring Report is released within the next few weeks.