The Oban Times - - News -

ONE of the big­gest prob­lems faced by the NHS is ill health brought on by al­co­hol abuse. For those of us who en­joy a so­cia­ble drink and can put the bot­tle aside, it’s fine, but what of those who can­not?

Last year, across Scot­land, more than 1,200 li­censed premises closed for var­i­ous rea­sons – from the smok­ing ban to the in­creas­ing cost of al­co­hol. So pubs are suf­fer­ing.

What of pub prices? In Oban, the av­er­age pint of beer or lager is around £ 3.20. A whisky or vodka costs around £2.40 with a dash, not the cheap­est night out by any means.

How­ever, we must never forget the so­cia­ble ben­e­fit of your lo­cal. They are great gath­er­ing points, not just for a drink, but for com­pany.

The big­gest eye- opener I got while re­search­ing this sub­ject was the price of al­co­hol. At one lo­cal store, a 12-pack of lager is £7.20, four cans of cider £1.99, and six bot­tles of lager £ 5.49. A litre of whisky is £16.

I think the above says it all: the prob­lem is not pubs but stores sell­ing cheap al­co­hol.

As one taxi driver said to me, peo­ple go home, get fu­elled up with the con­tents of a car­ry­out and then call a taxi be­tween 10pm and 11pm to go to the pub when some of them have al­ready had enough.

So what of the Scot­tish Govern­ment’s pledge on Min­i­mum Unit Pric­ing of al­co­hol? In or­der to help the NHS with this sit­u­a­tion – which now in­volves chil­dren as young as 12 – the govern­ment must act now, be­fore it is too late.

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