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December 10, 2012

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Alcohol Pricing Could Save Lives, Raise Revenue

Many of the world’s top addiction researchers and alcohol policy-makers heard today about an international research program led by UVic’s Centre for Addictions Research BC (CARBC) that indicates a policy shift could save lives, reduce hospitalizations and cut crime while also increasing government revenue.

A new international study released in Toronto today at a public seminar sponsored by CARBC, the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) estimates impacts on deaths, hospital admissions, government revenue, crimes, consumer spending and alcohol consumption from a range of different alcohol policies in Ontario and British Columbia.

The model estimates that if the minimum price of alcohol in BC was increased slightly to $1.50 per standard drink, there would be 39 fewer premature deaths, 244 fewer hospital admissions and 1,346 fewer crimes committed in the first year. It also estimates the policy change would increase provincial sales taxes by $2.8 million and federal taxes by $1.7 million in one year. This would mean a moderate drinker spending on average an extra $11.91 and a harmful drinker an extra $242.50 per year.

Larger benefits were estimated after 10 years, and similar benefits were estimated if the policy was introduced in Ontario.
The report was led by researchers at the University of Sheffield, as well as CARBC director Tim Stockwell as the principal investigator, and is the culmination of three years collaborative work with CARBC and CAMH.

The modelling method used was influential in persuading governments in the United Kingdom to announce plans to introduce minimum alcohol pricing.

A news release from CAMH is available at: http://bit.ly/UxEpe1

The report can be viewed at: www.carbc.ca/Portals/0/PropertyAgent/558/Files/240/AlcMinPricingOntBC.pdf

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  Media Contacts:

Dr. Tim Stockwell (CARBC) at 250-415-7376 or timstock@uvic.ca
Mitch Wright (UVic Communications) at 250-721-6139 or mwwright@uvic.ca


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