The University of Sheffield
Alcohol Research

The Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model (SAPM)

The Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model (also known as SAPM or the Sheffield model) provides estimates of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of alcohol policies including pricing and availability policies as well as screening and brief interventions. It has been influential in informing public and political debate on alcohol policy and has provided a key evidence base for informing policy decisions around minimum unit pricing of alcohol. Adaptations of the model have been provided for the Scottish government and work is underway to provide further international adaptations.

Please see below for further information on the structure of the model and sources of further information.

Structure of the model

Version 2 of the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model addresses four different types of policies; pricing policies, availability or advertising policies and screening and brief interventions. The outputs of the model provide estimates of:

Analyses are carried out on population subgroups defined by age, sex and consumption level. This means the model is able to present results describing the impact of alcohol policies on particular subgroups of interest such as young hazardous drinkers, moderate drinkers or harmful drinkers.

The pricing model has two elements. The first element uses an econometric approach to model consumer responses to changes in the prices of alcoholic beverages. This allows appraisal of how consumers’ change consumption levels, drink in alternative settings or switch to alternative beverages following a pricing policy change. The second element uses epidemiological data on the relationship between alcohol consumption and various harms to model how those changes in consumption change the consumers’ risk of harm. This allows for estimates of the change in incidence of alcohol-related harms and the costs associated with those harms to be calculated.

The screening and brief intervention model uses a range of data from healthcare settings and published evidence on the effectiveness of brief interventions in altering consumption behaviour to model a set of possible policies. The impact of changes in consumption is modelled as in the pricing policy; however, crime and work-related harms are excluded.

The availability and advertising models addresses changes in outlet density, licensing hours and advertising and is based on a similar approach but uses published evidence rather than econometric analyses to estimate the impacts of availability changes on consumption. Changes in consumption are then linked to changes in the risk of harm and changes in the estimates of total harm as in the pricing model.
Version 3 of the model is currently being developed as part of our 3-year MRC- and ESRC-funded programme of research known as IARP (Interdisciplinary Alcohol Research Programme). For more information see the project’s webpage and our interim report on new methods, updates results from version 2.5 of the model.

Further information