We welcome the Scottish Government’s alcohol preventive framework, released today. Alcohol causes significant harm to individuals and communities across Scotland. After a period of decline, rates of death entirely caused by alcohol have increased over the past four years, and it is now directly responsible for an average of 22 deaths and 697 admissions to hospital per week. People in our poorest areas experience the most harm. Rates of both alcohol-specific death and alcohol-related admissions are more than eight times higher there than they are in the wealthiest areas.
The Scottish Government is right to consider tightening further the measures it takes on price, availability and attractiveness of alcohol drinks, pushing the boundaries of its powers to benefit public health, and reducing alcohol-related harm.
Dr Andrew Fraser at NHS Health Scotland, said
“Alcohol contributes to thousands of years of life lost due to early death or living in poor health, all of which is preventable. This represents not only pain and loss to many families across Scotland, but it also affects our workplaces, our communities and our economy too. We still need to do more to reduce harm from alcohol in Scotland, and the evidence suggests that the most effective way to do this is to address the availability, affordability and attractiveness of it. This new strategy will go a long way to taking measures that are likely to work.
In Health Scotland, we monitor and evaluate Scotland’s alcohol strategy (MESAS) and this programme of studies will gauge progress, and seek to understand what really works to reduce that harm.”
You can view the updated framework setting out national prevention aims on alcohol on the Scottish Government's website.
You can find information on alcohol and health inequalities in our alcohol section.