- Alcohol policy priorities for the next parliament
- Young drinkers believe prominent health warnings on alcohol could boost risk awareness
- Australian ministers agree to visible pregnancy warning
- Alcohol and the Workplace Effective Interventions
- Alcohol sales and consumption in Scotland during the pandemic
- Invitation to Tender - Alcohol Marketing Evidence Review
- 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
- Scotland needs to continue long-term focus on alcohol
- 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
- Five top tips for working remotely
- 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
- Alcohol related hospital admissions for 2018 to 2019
- Hitting the right note in training
- Minimum unit pricing update
- 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-specific deaths 2018
- Five tips for upping the engagement factor
- 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
- Five tips for training delivery nerves
- 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
- Five pitfalls to avoid in evaluating training
- 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
- Cross-Party Group Improving Scotland's health: 2021 and beyond October 2018
- 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
- Alcohol-specific deaths remain at very high levels
- Oh Lila goes digital
- Global first alcohol policy set to save hundreds of Scots' lives
- AFS welcomes minimum unit pricing for alcohol
- Walker's crisp ad exposes children to alcohol marketing
- Truer picture of alcohol harm revealed
- Focus on link between alcohol and obesity
- Alcohol causes 3,700 deaths in Scotland every year
- Last Christmas for heavily discounted alcohol
- Scotland's licensing system needs clearer direction
- Minimum pricing blog
- Minimum pricing gets green light
- Reflections on GAPC 2017
- Alcohol brands and young people
- Time for honest conversations about alcohol
- Q&A on alcohol marketing
- UK children anxious about parents' drinking
- Quarter of Scots drink above guidelines
- 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
- Budget: No change in alcohol duty
- Scottish Government urged to curb alcohol marketing
- Consumers have the right to know health risks
- Chancellor urged to tackle cheap, strong cider in Budget
- Online help for families affected by alcohol
- Alcohol-free childhood is healthiest option
- SWA granted leave to appeal minimum pricing
- Drink drive warning
- Scottish Greens call for action on alcohol marketing
- Scottish Government receives European alcohol award
- SWA will appeal to UK Supreme Court
- Half of alcohol being sold under 50p per unit
- SWA urged to respect minimum pricing decision
- Alcohol and mental health are closely linked
- Minimum pricing can be implemented in Scotland
- Alcohol sold at pocket money prices
- Scotland has so much to gain from reducing how much we drink
- AFS welcomes revised alcohol consumption guidelines
- Emergency services face shocking levels of alcohol abuse
- Every child has the right to grow up safe from alcohol harm
- Public health must prevail over big business
- New toolkit to help children affected by family alcohol problems
- Price check reveals cheap cost of strong alcohol
- Sales increase underlines need for minimum pricing
- Time to kick alcohol out of sport
- Alcohol linked with stomach cancer
- AFS calls for compulsory health warnings on alcoholic drinks
- Are supermarkets 'responsible retailers' when it comes to alcohol?
- Scottish health charities call for excise duty rise to tackle cheap alcohol
- Alcohol campaigners unite to call for stronger protection from alcohol advertising to children
- New resource for people concerned about alcohol in their community
- Minimum pricing decision delayed until summer
- No completely 'safe' level of drinking
- New alcohol guidelines published
- Minimum pricing - European court ruling
- Alcohol fuels ambulance assaults
- 82% of Scots agree drink driving is unacceptable
- Scotland's alcohol strategy - what next?
- Scotland leads way in evidence-based alcohol policy
- New report reveals impact of alcohol on emergency services
- 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.