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. We often talk about alcohol and drugs as if they were separate things. But alcohol is a drug like any other.

It’s also a toxic product 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.

When combining the individual health harms of alcohol with the social costs, no other drug is more harmful than alcohol.

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 

The fact is too many people in Scotland drink too much, too often. Almost one in four people in Scotland are drinking at a potentially harmful level.  Alcohol claims over 50 lives per week in Scotland.

It is important to note that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption. Drinking any amount of alcohol immediately begins to increase your risk of cancer and other health problems.

The figures

deaths in 2022 due to conditions caused solely by alcohol