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News - 8 August 2008

'Pre-drinking' blunts impact of new Canadian booze laws

Sloshed before they enter the bar?
Alberta, Canada, has implemented minimum alcohol prices and controls on happy-hours in an attempt to address binge drinking. But 'pre-drinking' is minimising the impact of the new law - and causing other problems too.

People planning a night out on the town in Alberta have long indulged in 'pre-drinking' - tanking up on cheap booze at home before going out and paying higher prices in pubs and bars. The practice could become even more widespread following the imposition, from the first of this month, of minimum prices for alcohol and restructions on drinks promotions in licensed premises imposed by the state government.

Legislators hope the new policy will curb compulsive binge drinking and related post-bar violence. It is intended to stop people from buying multiple cheap drinks in a short time period. But with low prices still available in supermarkets and wine shops, pre-drinking could become even more widespread.

Bar staff in the state are forbidden by law from selling alcohol to people who they assess are already drunk. But owners of licensed premises are warning that their staff will not be able easily to monitor the intoxication levels of their customers so if they are already under the influence of drink when they enter their premises. 

Fir the rest of this item from the Edmonton Journal, click here

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