Alcohol consumption is ‘significant public health concern’

Alcohol consumption web

Over a quarter of Scots are drinking more than doctors recommend, with hospital admissions four times higher than in the 1980s

20th June 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

More than a quarter of Scots are ignoring guidelines on alcohol.

And more than 24,000 people were admitted to hospital for a drink-related condition in 2016/17.

A report on the nation’s drinking habits was released this week, and showed that Scots are drinking an average of 19.6 units a week – higher than the recommended limit of 14 units per week.

The study by NHS Health Scotland found that 26% of adults are consuming more than the recommended amount.

Scotland's Alcohol Strategy Monitoring Report showed that across the country adults drank an average of 10.2 litres of pure alcohol.

The study said alcohol was now responsible for 22 deaths and 697 hospital admissions a week, with the rates of these more than eight times higher in Scotland's most deprived areas than they are in the most affluent communities. Alcohol related admissions are more than four times higher than they were in the 1980s.

Alison Douglas, chief executive at Alcohol Focus Scotland, described the figures as worrying.

She said: “It is concerning to see that the harm caused by alcohol is continuing to take its toll with alcohol-related death rates and hospitalisations increasing in recent years. 

“Particularly worrying is the widening of inequalities in relation to alcohol harm; our most deprived communities have rates of alcohol-specific deaths and alcohol-related hospital stays eight times higher than in our least deprived areas.”

Lucie Giles, lead author of the report and public health intelligence adviser at NHS Health Scotland said: "As a leading cause of illness and early death, alcohol consumption and related harm remains a significant public health concern.

"With rates of alcohol-specific deaths increasing in recent years, and alcohol related hospital admissions four times higher than they were in the 1980s, it is more important than ever that we continue to monitor alcohol price, consumption and alcohol-related harms to inform and evaluate policy.”

Public health minister Aileen Campbell said the recently introduced minimum pricing for alcohol would help to prevent Scots from consuming dangerous amounts of alcohol.

She said: "Our world-leading minimum unit pricing policy now ensures no alcohol can be sold below 50p per unit. I am confident minimum unit pricing will make a significant difference to the harms shown in this report.”