Rising alcohol prices driving the young towards illicit drug use

A latest study that spanned over two years revealed a link between alcohol prices and consumption of illicit drugs such as ecstasy. The study says that as alcohol prices have risen young people have ‘switched’ to the party drug ecstasy as an alternative.

Now the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre study at the University of New South Wales will look at “alcohol-pricing policies” and their relation to drinking and the use of marijuana and ecstasy based on this study funded by Australian Research Council.

Study’s chief investigator, Jenny Chalmers said, “There is pretty clear evidence that increasing the price of alcohol is one of the most effective ways of reducing the amount of harmful drinking in Australians aged 18 to 30 years…What is less clear is whether or not some young people will find other, cheaper ways of getting high or intoxicated…This project will not only tell us who drinks less alcohol when the price rises, but will help us distinguish the people that replace the alcohol with ecstasy or cannabis, from the people who use less illicit drugs as well.”

“Policy here has moved young people from the use of a more dangerous drug to that of a less dangerous drug. But more importantly (and predictably) is that public policy now works to make things worse. Because this less dangerous drug is illicit, there is no quality control – ‘the result is pills of unpredictable but declining purity, which increases the risks of serious adverse effects for users’,” writes Professor Nick Crofts, a senior research fellow at the Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne who feels alcohol is the worst drug.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.

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