Campaigners call for action after spike in drink deaths

Alcohol

​Shocking 10% increase in drink deaths lead to renewed calls for minimum pricing of alcohol

3rd August 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Camapigners have renewed calls for minimum alcohol pricing after new figures showed a 10% spike in alcohol-related deaths in Scotland.

It means deaths due to drink are at their highest since 2010.

The figures, published by the National Records of Scotland, show that 1,265 people died from drinking last year, a rise of 115 from 2015.

Minimum unit pricing for alcohol was passed by parliament in 2012 but is currently going through a lengthy appeal process after being challenged by the drinks industry.

Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: “It is tragic that 1,265 men and women in Scotland died because of alcohol last year; a 10% increase on the previous year.

"Behind these appalling statistics are real people - sons, daughters, husbands, wives, parents, friends and colleagues – who have died too young because of a substance that’s cheap, widely available and constantly promoted.

“As well as minimum pricing, we need to see bold and proportionate action from the Scottish Government in its forthcoming alcohol strategy.”

Dr Peter Bennie, chair of the British Medical Association Scotland, said: “These latest figures showing a worrying increase in alcohol-related deaths last year make clear the scale of the damage caused by Scotland’s relationship with alcohol.

“It underlines why as a country we need to redouble our efforts to tackle the harms caused by alcohol misuse, and why we need the Scottish Government’s coming alcohol strategy refresh to include the kind of wide-ranging measures the BMA and other alcohol campaigners recently called for, including action on marketing and availability.

“Chief amongst these though is the need for minimum unit pricing, a policy that big alcohol producers have spent far too long delaying and trying to prevent and which must be implemented as swiftly as possible once the legal process finally ends.”

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