For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 4 Aug 2013.
A new study by researchers at Deakin University in Geelong has found that raising the retail price of alcoholic drinks in order to cut consumption, and reduce alcohol-related violence, may have the unintended consequence of prompting young people to substitute illicit drugs such as ecstasy or marijuana in place of alcohol.
The study found that increasing the price of alcohol would decrease consumption, with the greatest effect noticeable between $9-14 per standard drink, although “a substantial minority of young people report that they would consider substituting alcohol with other drugs once price per standard alcoholic drink reached $14.”
There is substantial room to increase the price of alcohol before substitution becomes an issue, along with other measures to curb binge drinking and alcohol-related violence, such as earlier pub closing times, lock-outs, restrictions on the sale of high-alcohol content drinks and alcohol advertising, and raising the legal drinking age in NSW.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.