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The evaluation of minimum unit pricing (MUP) will also use findings from robust studies which have been separately funded, for example by research grant funders. These are integral to the evaluation as a whole but not part of the Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy (MESAS) programme.

There are currently seven confirmed separately-funded studies. There is a brief description of each of these studies below. You can find out more by emailing the relevant research teams.

The evaluation will also draw on the learning from other relevant and robust studies if and when funding is agreed.

S1. Consumption and health service impacts

This study is being undertaken by researchers from MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Science Unit at the University of Glasgow and researchers from the University of Stirling. Researchers from University College London, University of Aberdeen, Victoria University, ISD and NHS Health Scotland are also involved. The study is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

The study has three work packages.

  • Emergency departments

Researchers will take a census to assess the impact of MUP on attendances to emergency departments and on the level of hazardous and harmful drinking reported in a survey by attendees. A comparison will also be made with England.

  • Sexual health services

Researchers will use a survey to assess prevalence of hazardous and harmful drinking, source of alcohol and substitution of illicit drugs among attendees at sexual health services. A comparison will also be made with England.

  • Focus groups

Researchers will undertake focus groups with hazardous drinkers aged 18 to 24 years and 30 plus years in three communities in Scotland to explore responses and attitudes to MUP. Interviews with key informants will assess implementation issues in these communities.

The study is expected to report late 2020

The study as a whole will contribute to the compliance, alcohol consumption and alcohol harm outcome areas. 

S2. Self-reported consumption

This study is being undertaken by researchers at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow.

The team will link information collected in the Scottish Health Survey to records of hospitalisations. From the linked data, they will obtain new estimates of how much alcohol people consume, corrected for non-response to the surveys. They will use the corrected estimates to assess the impact of MUP on self-reported alcohol consumption, and on the way this varies across the population.

 The study is expected to report late 2021

 This study will contribute to the alcohol consumption and alcohol harm outcome areas.

S3. Daily survey (N of 1)

This study was undertaken by the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Science Unit at the University of Glasgow. The study was funded by Alcohol Concern UK.

The researchers analysed factors relating to individual level behaviour change in the context of Minimum Unit Pricing. The study looked at the range of factors that influence an individual’s drinking, their switching to other substances and/or their seeking treatment, within the context of Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP). 

The researchers used a daily smartphone survey of a sample of drinkers or those who have recently stopped drinking who were recruited through treatment services and the community. They also undertook interviews with some of the participants.

They found that the predictors of behaviour change varied widely from person to person: with situational availability of alcohol, mood and adaptive responses to controlling alcohol use (such as motivation and implementing strategies to drink less) most common.

This study is now complete and published in December 2020.

Read the report on the Alcohol Change UK website (external website).

This study will contribute to the alcohol consumption and alcohol harm outcome areas.

S4. Homeless drinkers

This study is being undertaken by a team led by Glasgow Caledonian University. Researchers from Queen Margaret University, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, University of Victoria, University of Stirling and Herriot Watt University are also involved. The study is funded by the Chief Scientist Office (CSO).

The researchers will undertake in-depth interviews with homeless and street drinkers about their drinking and related behaviour since MUP was introduced. They will also speak to service providers about how services have been affected.

The study is expected to report late 2021.

This study will contribute to the alcohol consumption and alcohol harm outcome areas.

S5. Ambulance call-outs

This study is being undertaken by a team led by the researchers from the University of Stirling, working with others from the University of Glasgow and the University of Sheffield. The study is funded by the Chief Scientist Office (CSO).

The researchers will use information collected on ambulance call-outs to assess the impact of MUP on the number and types of calls. They will also interview ambulance staff and managers to explore how MUP has impacted on the ambulance service.

The study is expected to report in late 2021

This study will contribute to the alcohol harm outcome area.

S6. Prescribing

This study is being undertaken by a team led by researchers from the University of Glasgow, working with researchers from the University of Stirling and Glasgow Caledonian University. The study is funded by Alcohol Concern UK.

The researchers will use information on the prescription of drugs used to treat those who are dependent on alcohol.  They will look at what impact MUP has had on the number of prescriptions for these types of drugs in the first six months of MUP.

The study is expected to report mid 2021

This study will contribute to the alcohol harm outcome area. 

S7. Household expenditure

This study is being undertaken by a team of researchers at the University of Aberdeen. The study is funded by the Chief Scientist Office (CSO).

This study concerns one of the potential unintended consequences of the minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol legislation that was introduced in Scotland in May 2018. It will examine whether household food spending is reduced as people spend more on purchasing alcohol.

Changes in the volume and type of food purchased will be considered along with the effect that this has on diet quality and the consequences for health. The project will employ a natural experiment, comparing household spending in Scotland before and after MUP with the North of England, where MUP does not apply.

This study is expected to report mid-2022.

This study will contribute to the Health and social harms outcome area

All the outcome areas and the MESAS funded studies are listed on the Outcome areas and studies page.