In May 2018, Scotland introduced a minimum unit price of 50p per unit (8g) of alcohol, with the aim of reducing abusive drinking. Research had shown that a large proportion of very cheap alcohol consumed in Scotland took the form of heavy drinking, resulting in drunkenness and other socially unacceptable behaviour. SA’s situation is at least as bad as Scotland’s. Although only about one third of SA adults say they have ever consumed alcohol, nearly half of those that do, drink at dangerous levels. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), SA scores a four out of five for our “pattern of drinking”, beaten only by heavy-drinking Russia and Ukraine. The pattern of drinking is not determined, primarily, by the quantity of alcohol consumed, but by how it is consumed. For example, drinking is flagged as dangerous if alcohol is typically consumed outside of mealtimes, out of the home, and to get drunk. For comparison, the pattern of drinking in the UK is a three, and in France and ...

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