Dr Gary Cooney

Dr Gary Cooney

Changing drinking patterns in patients with severe alcohol dependence around the advent of MUP in the West of Scotland

Dr Gary Cooney

Kershaw Unit – NHS GGC

Aims: We set out to study the changing patterns of drinking in patients presenting to our busy regional addiction service for alcohol detoxification immediately before(April,2018) and after (May-August,2018) the introduction of a minimum unit price for alcohol of 50 pence in Scotland on 1st May, 2018.

Method: We surveyed patients at the point of admission to either inpatient or daypatient detoxification or at the point of initial assessment in the outpatient clinic. We asked them to recount the last week of drinking using a time line followback technique. We asked for brand of drink,ABV,volume consumed and price paid on each of the preceding seven days. Patients were breathalysed and filled in a SADQ. All were scheduled to commence a detoxification.

Results: From 23 patients with severe dependence in April the average unit price being paid was 56.9 pence. If we excluded two outliers paying £1.82 and £1.26 per unit then the average was 47.7 pence per unit. The range of prices being paid was from 17 pence to 182 pence, 12/23 patients were paying less than 50 p per unit. From a similar number of patients surveyed since 1st May our initial analysis shows a range from 42 pence per unit to 86.9 pence with an average of  52.5 pence per unit. Three patients surprisingly claimed to be buying below the 50 pence per unit from the information given. There appears to be a shift away from cider before MUP to spirits, fortified wine and beer/lager in our sample.

Conclusion: There does appear to be change but perhaps not as dramatically as anticipated. The poster will include a more detailed analysis if accepted. It does appear that cheap cider (e.g. Frosty Jack) is being displaced. For example we have heard of a new mixer drink called Taxi gaining some street credibility.


Drs. Smith, Turner, Gabir, Skelton, Ambardar Medical Staff,Kershaw Unit – NHS GGC

Conflicts of interest: