Reducing harm caused by alcohol


Alcohol debate must continue

Public Health Minister Maureen Watt has paid tribute to the progress made in tackling alcohol misuse in Scotland - but recognised that sustained action is needed to keep moving in the right direction.

A debate was held at Holyrood today, during which new measures were set out to address the country's relationship with alcohol.

Among them, funding for Alcohol Focus Scotland to create an additional post to help realise the potential of the licensing system to control alcohol availability.

The Scottish Government is doubling the capacity to deliver Alcohol Brief Interventions in wider settings. NHS Boards and their partners have delivered over 470,000 interventions since April 2008 to help people cut down on their drinking, potentially reducing the requirement for costly treatments later on.

A new social marketing campaign was also announced, which will aim to prompt awareness among parents of the impact their drinking can have on children, and the importance of recognising they are role models whom young people may emulate.

Ms Watt said:

"Scotland's relationship with alcohol is deeply concerning. While alcohol-related deaths have fallen by 35% since 2008, they remain 1.4 times higher than they were in 1981. The most recent data, for 2013, shows an increase. However I am confident that with cross-party consensus we can continue to build on the progress made since our strategy was launched in 2009.

"In October, Scotland is hosting the Global Alcohol Policy Conference. We look forward to sharing our experiences with advocates from around the world and learning from their experiences.

"Scotland has an excellent reputation for taking decisive and bold action to reduce the harm caused by excessive alcohol consumption, and it is testament to our ambitious strategies that the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance have chosen to host this year's event in Edinburgh."