Minimum alcohol prices to tackle WA alcohol epidemic

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has today joined a call by community and health groups in Western Australia for a minimum price on alcohol products to tackle the epidemic of alcohol related harm in the state.

A report released by the WA Alcohol and Youth Action Coalition, The Case for a Minimum Floor Price for Alcohol in Western Australia, recommends setting a minimum of $1.00- $1.50 per standard drink to reduce the harm caused by heavy alcohol use in the community, particularly for young people.

Professor Paul Colditz, a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and child health specialist said, “We need to tackle the alcohol crisis in Western Australia, where alcohol is readily available at dangerously cheap prices, in some cases as low as 24c per standard drink.

“Alcohol related harm and illness is becoming an epidemic and something has to be done to reduce the impact on our community and health services.

“Research shows that simply increasing the price of the cheapest alcohol will reduce alcohol use by heavy drinkers and go a long way to ease the burden on state healthcare system and other resources in our community.

“We also know that young people are highly influenced by price, so setting a minimum on alcohol products will discourage young people from purchasing cheap and dangerous amounts of alcohol.

“Minimum prices also prevent the liquor industry from aggressive pricing promotions such as the ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ offers.”

The report includes testimonies from groups across Western Australia including RACP, the Australian Medical Association (WA), Public Health Association of Australia (WA Branch), WA Primary Health Alliance and more.

“Setting a floor price per standard drink can effectively tackle risky alcohol consumption without punishing light to moderate drinkers. This is because research shows that these consumers are already less likely to purchase the cheaper products, and so the floor price will have little or no impact on the products these consumers are already purchasing.”

Contact: Matthew Phillips – 0408 541 717, media@racp.edu.au

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