The price of alcohol


A chara, – Minimum pricing might reduce consumption, but it will not reduce demand. It just means that those with less money cannot drink as much as they otherwise would. Tackling the demand-side causes of excess drinking is a long-term, complex, multifaceted process that will take place over a number of electoral cycles. In other words, exactly the type of challenge our politicians avoid.

As we wait patiently for a miracle on that front, our priority now must be harm reduction. That means, in the first instance, improving the availability, quality, and timeliness of addiction treatment services. It is beyond ridiculous that increased revenue from minimum pricing will go to the drinks industry and not the State. In particular, given that much of this extra money will come from problem drinkers who have difficulty accessing appropriate services.

It is time to place a levy on all alcohol sales to fund treatment services. A ring-fenced war chest. Not many families can afford to spend €14,000 on 28 days of professional residential treatment for a loved one. It is the blindingly obvious thing to do. – Is mise,


Kilkea, Co Kildare.