The Royal College of Psychiatrists in Northern
Ireland has called on the Executive to follow Scotland’s lead and
introduce an Alcohol Minimum Pricing Bill.
Dr Philip McGarry, Chair of the Royal College
of Psychiatrists in Northern Ireland, said: "We have been
advocating minimum pricing for alcohol for some time, and now the
Scottish Parliament has set a lead we believe the Northern Ireland
Assembly must follow. We are greatly encouraged by the commitment
to date on this issue from the Northern Ireland Executive, but are
keen to see this matter also become a legislative reality as soon
as possible in Northern Ireland.
"The Royal College of Psychiatrists does not
oppose responsible drinking but, like others in the medical
profession, we see the dreadful consequences of harmful and
hazardous alcohol consumption.
Dr McGarry continued: "International evidence
demonstrates that minimum pricing for alcohol works, and the World
Health Organisation says that increasing the price of alcohol is
one of the most effective ways of curbing harmful drinking.
Supermarkets sell beer for less than the price of bottled water,
and we see pubs and clubs promoting drinks, often to young people
and in particular young women, at heavily discounted prices.
"We need to make alcohol less appealing,
particularly to young people. The evidence is that banning
advertising, limiting the number of retailers and introducing
minimum pricing works."
The relationship between alcohol misuse and
mental health problems, including self harm, is complex, with
alcohol both contributing to mental health problems and being used
by some people with mental illness to ‘self medicate’.
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