- Widespread support for calls to increase minimum unit price for alcohol to 65p
- Alcohol-specific deaths in Scotland increase
- Australian ministers agree to visible pregnancy warning
- Students as Change Agents
- Health charities call for action to save lives from Scotlands biggest killers
- Three quarters of Scots back new controls to help protect children from alcohol advertising
- More accurate estimates for the burden of Alcohol on the Ambulance Service: around 1 in 6 callouts in Scotland are alcohol related
- How can alcohol labels be improved to help people make informed consumption choices
- Health experts call for better alcohol labelling
- Young people and their views on alcohol marketing
- Lowest alcohol sales in Scotland for 26 years
- Minimum unit pricing has lasting impact study shows
- Euros renews call for action to protect children from alcohol sports sponsorship
- Current alcohol labelling of little relevance to young adult drinkers
- Governments should step up efforts to tackle harmful alcohol consumption
- Scottish public and leading health experts back changes to alcohol labelling
- AFS calls for 65p minimum unit price for alcohol
- How will the main parties prevent harm from alcohol?
- Alcohol labelling reform is way past its sell by date
- Alcohol policy priorities for the next parliament
- Young drinkers believe prominent health warnings on alcohol could boost risk awareness
- Alcohol and the Workplace Effective Interventions
- Alcohol sales and consumption in Scotland during the pandemic
- How can we prevent alcohol deaths?
- Alcohol Deaths and Minimum Unit Pricing
- Young Scots show support for restrictions on alcohol marketing
- YoungScot Health Panel report on alcohol marketing and harm
- New release of alcohol related hospital admissions
- Better alcohol labelling – A way to boost awareness of the risk between alcohol and cancer?
- Alcohol Deaths Prevention Support
- Almost half of Scots in favour of minimum unit pricing
- NICE Guidelines on FASD Surveillance or Support?
- Leading health charities call for action in Scotland
- Health experts campaign for better understanding of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
- Health experts call for alcohol labelling overhaul
- Survey shows Scots lockdown drinking rise caused by stress
- Alcohol Focus Scotland welcomes new WHO report on alcohol pricing
- Statistical analysis of off-trade alcohol sales in the year following MUP
- Alcohol Focus Scotland Review of statements of licensing policy 2018 to 2023
- We need to continue long-term focus on alcohol
- Scots report changing drinking patterns during coronavirus lockdown
- Time to Blow the Whistle on Alcohol Sport Sponsorship
- New evidence demonstrates that alcohol ads lead to youth drinking
- Alcohol sales fall in first year of MUP
- First study published into under 18 drinkers post MUP
- Commission on Alcohol Harm calls for evidence
- Two years on Are annual functions reports reaching their potential?
- We need to do more to protect our children and young people
- Scottish primary children call for action on alcohol
- New Alcohol Deaths Prevention Support Now Available from AFS
- Its time to tell us whats in our drinks
- A home for Rory
- Making a bad impression - blog post
- Alcohol sales and MUP
- Alcohol marketing and children debate in the Scottish Parliament
- Lowest alcohol sales in 25 years
- Research into fall in violence
- The Children's Parliament investigates an alcohol-free childhood
- Minimum unit pricing one year on
- More about sales data
- A family of resources it is all about prevention, education and resilience
- AFS publish Review of Licensing Board Annual Functions Reports 2017-2018
- Marketing unmasked dispelling the myths and taking a stand
- No place for alcohol marketing in sport
- Scotland publishes first UK guidelines for diagnosing fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)
- The Alcohol Framework 2018 Preventing Harm
- Scotlands new drug and alcohol strategy launched
- AFS welcome new alcohol strategy
- Recent reporting on alcohol sales data
- Diageo is failing to provide latest guidelines on their products
- Drinks companies keeping consumers in dark about risky drinking
- Reducing alcohol consumption can address health inequalities
- Global first alcohol policy set to save hundreds of Scots' lives
- AFS welcomes minimum unit pricing for alcohol
- Truer picture of alcohol harm revealed
- Alcohol causes 3,700 deaths in Scotland every year
- Scotland's licensing system needs clearer direction
- Minimum pricing blog
- Minimum pricing gets green light
- Alcohol brands and young people
- Time for honest conversations about alcohol
- Q&A on alcohol marketing
- UK children anxious about parents' drinking
- Alcohol producers failing to inform public
- Concern over alcohol-related deaths
- We need to make it easier for people to drink less
- Worrying rise in alcohol-related deaths
- Minimum pricing will save lives
- Pocket money prices for alcohol continue
- Scotland's alcohol problem laid bare
- Cheap alcohol is costing Scotland dear
- One drink a day can increase breast cancer risk
- Poverty linked to increased harm from alcohol
- What next for reducing alcohol harm in Scotland?
- Scotland must do more to turn tide of alcohol harm
- Concern as funding for alcohol services cut
- Scottish Government urged to curb alcohol marketing
- Consumers have the right to know health risks
- Alcohol-free childhood is healthiest option
- SWA granted leave to appeal minimum pricing
- Scottish Greens call for action on alcohol marketing
- SWA will appeal to UK Supreme Court
- SWA urged to respect minimum pricing decision
- Minimum pricing can be implemented in Scotland
- AFS welcomes revised alcohol consumption guidelines
- Emergency services face shocking levels of alcohol abuse
- New toolkit to help children affected by family alcohol problems
- Alcohol campaigners unite to call for stronger protection from alcohol advertising to children
- No completely 'safe' level of drinking
- New alcohol guidelines published
- Minimum pricing - European court ruling
- Alcohol: a global concern
How can we prevent alcohol deaths?
National Records of Scotland have published the latest statistics on alcohol deaths in Scotland. Here we look at what AFS is doing to help prevent deaths in the future.
First we have to be clear which cases we are talking about. These figures, like most of AFS’s work on alcohol deaths prevention, cover alcohol-specific deaths. These are ones which are wholly caused by alcohol, usually from conditions like liver disease or addictions.
There are around 1,100 alcohol-specific deaths per year in Scotland, a huge number. While all deaths are tragic, the scale of alcohol’s role is shocking – Scotland sees around 150 road deaths per year, and we haven’t had a year with more than 100 homicides in 15 years, but alcohol deaths receive far less attention.
Better information, better decisions
Lack of information around alcohol deaths is the first thing AFS has been working to change. Without learning which services people were in contact with, we cannot know how to improve services to better reach and support people in the future.
Everyone in Scotland has a local Alcohol Drug Partnership, and NHS Public Health team. These local groups work to set up effective supports for people who have problems with alcohol, and those at risk of dying.
In September, AFS published the first guidance for ADPs and Public Health teams on how they can undertake alcohol death reviews. These will help local areas learn lessons from previous cases, and plan for better support in the future. With better information and a dedicated setting to discuss alcohol deaths, we can make sure people at risk of dying are identified and can get help.
Helping people in hospitals
We know that most people with alcohol problems in Scotland are not in treatment. But even before someone is ready to acknowledge they have an alcohol issue and embark on recovery their alcohol use may result in a hospital attendance, for example, they may require emergency treatment for an injury sustained while intoxicated.
AFS is working with local teams to find out how hospitals can help identify people who might have problems with alcohol and connect them to support or, if the person isn’t ready to consider support, to set the stage for recovery in the future.
Hospital liaison services can be a big part of this, providing specialist alcohol support and signposting to other hospital or community services.
We are also looking at support for people who frequently attend hospital settings. Sometimes these people are painted as a drain on resources, but the healthcare system is there to help people and we have to look at the person, not the problem.
We have to make sure people attending hospital have constructive experiences which encourage recovery and link seamlessly to community recovery networks. We can learn from innovative approaches such as that of Navigator project which operates in a number of emergency departments in Scotland pairing patients with chaotic lifestyles with people who can help make sure they are heard in healthcare settings and linking to community support as well.
One of the tragic things about alcohol deaths is that people sometimes only find out how significantly their drinking has damaged their health when it becomes very serious. People can drink, even at very high levels, for a long time without being aware of the physical impact.
We need to find approaches for people who suspect they may have a problem with alcohol, or that their drinking might be doing them physical damage, to get help sooner.
There are new ways of finding out how people’s livers have been damaged which are quick, painless and accurate. A ten minute ultrasound can give an indication of liver damage, enabling people to be put in touch with addictions supports to address their drinking and, if necessary, liver specialists who can start treatment before serious damage is done.
AFS plans to work with local teams already using this fibro-scanning technology to find out how we can make sure it is used in the best way. Training for staff in how to engage with addiction issues, and issues around funding and administration of these programmes, can help make sure people around the country can benefit from new technologies.
We need to make sure that care systems in our communities are identifying people at risk of dying, and adapting to meet their needs. Many people who die of alcohol-specific causes are known to be isolated, socially and from support networks for a long time before they die.
Reaching out to people and remembering that recovery is possible is really important. People at risk of dying are typically drinking at very high levels, and have been for a long time. That can make it difficult to cut down without medical support, but also to access help as it often needs people to be able to reflect on their drinking with a clear head.
Part of our planned work on alcohol deaths prevention involves working with local teams to find places where this work is already done well, including internationally. We can then recommend changes to local systems and work with professionals and service providers to make sure they are taken up.
27 November 2020.