The Northern Ireland Health Minister has announced his commitment to a public consultation on Minimum Unit Pricing for alcohol.
Robin Swann said: “The impact of alcohol misuse is being felt by too many families and communities across Northern Ireland on a daily basis”.
Last year, it was reported that introducing a minimum 50 pence per unit price in Scotland had reduced the amount of alcohol purchased.
A review of the current Alcohol and Drugs Strategy indicated that alcohol-related deaths rose between 2008 and 2017. Alcohol-related admissions to hospital for 2016-17 stood at 11,636, up from 9,573 in 2008-09.
Swann said: “We need to consider fully every option available to us to reduce this blight on our society. The impact alcohol has on our health service is clear and we must try to address the issue.”
He pledged to hold “a full public consultation on the introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing for Alcohol in Northern Ireland within one year”.
Scotland implemented a minimum unit price (MUP) of 50 pence for alcohol on 1 May 2018.
Researchers from Newcastle University found that, on average, Scots were purchasing 1.2 units of alcohol less per week than they were before MUP was introduced.
This equates to just over half a pint of beer or cider, or a small measure of spirits.