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Improving health
Previously NHS Health Scotland

Alcohol consumption and its harmful consequences are significant public health issues in Scotland. Understanding the impact that alcohol has on health is an important step for prioritising policy and practice to reduce alcohol-related harm.

The report “Hospital admissions, deaths and the overall burden of disease attributable to alcohol consumption in Scotland” presents recent estimates of the number of

  • adult patients admitted to hospital in 2015 due to alcohol
  • adult deaths in 2015 due to alcohol
  • days lost to ill-health or early death (Burden of Disease) in 2015 due to alcohol. 

The report shows that alcohol consumption remains an important and substantial cause of death and ill-health in Scotland. 

3,705 adults died in Scotland as a result of alcohol consumption in 2015. The top 5 causes of death due to alcohol were cancer (1,048), liver disease and pancreatitis (812), heart conditions and strokes (544), pneumonia (454) and unintentional injuries such as falls (357).
41,161 adults were admitted to hospital in Scotland at least once due to alcohol in 2015. The top 5 causes of admission due to alcohol were unintentional injuries such as falls (11,068), mental ill health and behavioural disorders (8,509), heart conditions and strokes (7,704), liver disease and pancreatitis (4,291) and cancer (3,123).

A breakdown of the contribution of alcohol consumption in the development of specific acute and chronic conditions, by age and sex is also reported. 

The full report is available on the ScotPHO website.

Get involved

This work is part of the Scottish Burden of Disease study, an ongoing collaboration between NHS Health Scotland and ISD Scotland. Contact us to find out more or get involved.