VICTORIA (NEWS1130) – If the BC government raises the minimum price of alcohol, people tend to drink less and health care dollars are saved.
That’s one of the main findings of a new University of Victoria study.

Dr. Tim Stockwell, the head of the Centre for Addictions Research of BC at UVIC says they looked at what happened each time the province raised the minimum price of alcohol over twenty years.
“A 10 % increase in the minimum price of any particular alcoholic beverage caused the consumption of that beverage to go down by over 16 % compared with all the other types of alcoholic beverage,” he says.

Stockwell says the issue is not trying to curb alcoholism but instead looking at the health costs of drinking, like liver disease and car crashes.

He says raising the minimum price of booze usually hits the heaviest drinkers hardest and they tend to gravitate towards the cheapest alcohol.

He notes British Columbians are in a bit of bind.

“Most of us love alcohol and we want continued access and availability of alcohol.  We also, I think most of us, want to minimize the harm from its consumption, so we have to get the balance right,” he says.  “Basically, we can make recommendations, and it’s up to the community and the leaders to decide.”