Alcohol supply directly breeds heavy drinking

Alcohol supply directly breeds heavy drinking

What does this mean exactly?  Basically the more alcohol outlets available in an area, the more people get heavily drunk.

A new International Alcohol Control (IAC) study has found that ‘heavy-drinking’ New Zealanders tend to buy cheaper, off-premise alcohol.

Where is the cheapest alcohol?  Supermarkets. 

What is the #1 selling category in New Zealand supermarkets?  Wine

What is the #2 selling category in New Zealand supermarkets?  Beer

I remember when alcohol was very limited in its distribution and very hard to get outside these limited hours.  Now you can buy it 24/7. 

Supermarket sales anyone?

“The idea for the IAC study came in part from the International Tobacco Control study.  There is a similar need in the alcohol field to develop more reliable ways to evaluate policy as it relates to alcohol control, and the IAC longitudinal survey and cross-country dimensions provide this.  This project – designed to allow for comparable data collection over time and across countries, and collecting data on policy-relevant variables as well as consumption – provides a much more valuable starting point for beginning alcohol researchers”
Sally Casswell, Director of Social and Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation (SHORE) at Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand, April 2014.

“These findings are more relevant to policy makers than to clinicians, by pointing to the importance of limiting the hours of the sale of alcohol.  These results are suggestive of something that has been demonstrated over and over again in the alcohol-research literature: the more available alcohol is, the more likely that people will drink heavily”
Dr David H. Jernigan, Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, April 2014.

“Our analysis of the relationship between the prices people told us they paid and how much they drank found that people drinking large quantities pay less for their drinks.  Those paying lower prices from off-license premises [supermarkets, where most alcohol is sold in New Zealand], were more likely to be daily drinkers; whereas prices paid in on-premise drinking locations, like bars and restaurants, were not linked to frequency of drinking, only to quantity.  Most previous surveys have under-estimated the amount of alcohol consumed by about 40%-50%, whereas our method accounts for almost all of the alcohol being consumed in the country.  Similarly, the prices reported were accurate, judged against the data available.  It is the communities that have to deal with alcohol-related disorders and violence, which are linked to heavier drinking which is, in turn, linked to longer hours spent drinking in bars and pubs.  Sales from off-license premises of takeaway alcohol have also been linked with family violence and child maltreatment.  Our findings support the importance of trading hours, and this is one policy which may be changed quickly – unlike reducing density, for example, which may take longer to achieve”
Sally Casswell, Director of Social and Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation (SHORE) at Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand, April 2014.

Study by Casswell, S., Huckle, T., Wall, M. and Yeh, L. C. (2014), “International Alcohol Control Study: Pricing Data and Hours of Purchase Predict Heavier Drinking” as published in the May 2014 online-only issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research doi: 10.1111/acer.12359, from the International Alcohol Control (IAC).  Data from surveys between July and October 2011 among a nationally representative sample of drinkers (n=1,900 drinkers aged 18 years and older).  Interview data included place and time of purchase, amounts purchased, price paid, and consumption details (beverage and location specific).  Funding for this Addiction Science Made Easy project was provided by the Addiction Technology Transfer Center National Office, under the cooperative agreement from the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment of SAMHSA.  As reported by in April 2014.


Posted: Wednesday 23 April 2014