Reducing harm caused by alcohol

Alcohol Information

Alcohol is the third leading risk factor for death and disability after smoking and high blood pressure.

Alcohol is a legal, socially acceptable drug which is seen as an integral part of Scottish life; used to celebrate, commiserate and socialise.

It’s also a toxic substance that can create dependence and causes serious health and social problems. Drinking too much, too often, increases the risk of cancer and liver disease, being involved in an accident, being a victim or perpetrator of crime, experiencing family breakdown, and losing employment.

Often it’s people other than the drinker who feel the effects the most: children, family, friends, colleagues and those working in front line services like the NHS and police.

Alcohol impacts across society

In Scotland, we drink more than people in England and Wales, and more than many other European countries. We also suffer more alcohol-related harm than these countries.

Facts and figures on alcohol in Scotland

Scotland’s relationship with alcohol led to us having one of the fastest growing rates of liver disease in the world. Life expectancy in some parts of Scotland falls way short of life expectancy elsewhere and alcohol plays a part in these inequalities.

The fact is too many people in Scotland drink too much, too often. One in four people in Scotland are drinking at a potentially harmful level. Twenty four Scots lost their lives because of alcohol every single week last year.