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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Psychiatrists call for Northern Ireland Executive to follow Scottish lead on minimum price for alcohol

Embargoed until 24 May 2012

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’.

For further information, please contact:
Claire McLoughlin or Deborah Hart in the Communications Department.

Telephone: 0203 701 2544 or 0203 701 2538


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