Less Access To Alcohol Could Lead To Increased Drinking

Less Access To Alcohol Could Lead To Increased Drinking

Published July 17, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Grapevine Archives

In the midst of discussions on whether Iceland should allow the sale of alcohol in shops, research has shown that restricting access to alcohol may lead to young people drinking to greater excess.

Independence Party MP Vilhjálmur Árnason recently proposed Icelandic law be changed to allow for the sale of alcholic beverages in privately-owned shops, as opposed to solely in shops run by The State Alcohol and Tobacco Company of Iceland (ÁTVR). The idea is not a new one, and while public opinion is divided on the topic, Vísir reports that the current arrangement may be making matters worse.

Gylfi Ólafsson, currently studying at the University of Stockholm, conducted research for his master’s degree that focused on alcohol and young people. According to his findings, young people living in towns that had no alcohol stores at all actually drank to greater excess than those with easier access.

However, Gylfi stresses that the matter should not be oversimplified.

“What matters most is to account what happens when you change sales patterns,” he told reporters. “This is a very complicated interaction of factors that needs to be explored more deeply. On the other hand, it is way too over simplified to contend that with greater access [to alcohol] comes greater use.”

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