Reducing harm caused by alcohol

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Scottish Government receives European alcohol award

The Scottish Government’s pioneering work to reduce the harm caused by alcohol has been honoured with a European Award.

The European Reducing Alcohol Harm award was given in recognition of a “comprehensive range” of measures including the multi-buy discount ban, lowering the drink-drive limit and legislating for minimum unit pricing.

It was announced at the seventh European Alcohol Policy Conference in Slovenia, attended by health ministers, scientists and public health officials from across the European Union.

Aileen Campbell, Minister for Public Health and Sport, said:

“It’s a huge honour that Scotland has been given this award in recognition of our work to reduce the damage caused by alcohol. This award is a tribute to all the people in Scotland who work with those affected by alcohol.

“The Scottish Government has over 40 measures designed to reduce alcohol-related harm. We have legislated to end multi-buy discounts and the irresponsible promotion of alcohol products, introduced a nationwide programme of alcohol brief interventions and lowered the drink drive limit. We’ve also invested significantly in specialist treatment and care services to help those with alcohol problems.

“We remain absolutely committed to introduce minimum unit pricing as soon as possible. Of course I was deeply disappointed that this life-saving policy has been further delayed by another legal challenge from the Scotch Whisky Association last week. However, the policy has been ruled lawful twice in the Scottish courts and I am confident the Supreme Court will come to the same conclusion if this latest appeal proceeds.

“Alcohol misuse is costing Scotland £3.6 billion a year and it kills around 22 people a week. So we will continue our work to reduce this harm, and will shortly be publishing a refreshed alcohol strategy for Scotland to build on the progress so far.”

Alison Douglas, Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland said:

"This award recognises the Scottish Government’s commitment to reducing our high levels of alcohol-related harm, particularly in pursuing minimum unit pricing. It is astonishing that the Scotch Whisky Association continue to put profits before people by delaying this life-saving policy.

"Some good progress has been made in the seven years since Scotland’s alcohol strategy was published, but there is much still to be done. We hope that the next phase of the alcohol strategy focuses on protecting children from alcohol marketing and reducing the availability and accessibility of alcohol."

Announcing the award, Mariann Skar, Secretary General of Eurocare (The European Alcohol Policy Alliance), said:

“The first European Award for Reducing Alcohol Harm Award is awarded to the Scottish Government in recognition of its actions to develop and implement a comprehensive range of evidence-based alcohol policies, and specifically its battle to implement minimum unit pricing, in the face of sustained opposition by global alcohol producers. Scotland is recognised as an international beacon for evidence-based alcohol policies, making the improvement of the health of its population a top priority.”