PEOPLE dependent on alcohol consumed less cheap drink and did not shift to using illicit drugs after minimum unit pricing was introduced in Scotland, research has found.

Scotland became the first country in the world to bring in minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol in May 2018, with it currently fixed by the Scottish Government at 50p per unit.

Researchers interviewed adults entering treatment services in Scotland and northern England before and after MUP was implemented.

Public Health Scotland, which commissioned the Sheffield University research, said early findings show “little evidence of negative consequences of MUP, such as a shift to use of illicit substances”.

The study found the proportion of people typically drinking alcohol at less than 50p per unit reduced substantially, from about six out of 10 people before MUP to one in 10 afterwards.

But there is evidence that some people who are dependent on alcohol may have reduced other expenditure due to spending more on drink. A total of 62% of participants said they have noticed prices changing, describing alcohol as “much” more expensive.

The majority of participants said they are not aware of any support available to them to cope with the rise in prices.