Reducing harm caused by alcohol


New Alcohol Deaths Prevention Support Now Available from AFS

Alcohol Focus Scotland is delighted to announce a new package of support for ADPs and Public Health teams looking to undertake alcohol deaths prevention work in their areas.  This work has been agreed with Scottish Government as part of AFS’s work to help implement the Rights, Respect and Recovery Strategy. Alcohol deaths prevention has been a ministerial priority in Scotland since 2016 and we are excited to begin this project in earnest.

The new support has two elements related to audits of alcohol deaths. First will be the Alcohol Deaths Research Network for people conducting audits, whether professional researchers or other healthcare staff, to meet and share their knowledge and experience of the work. Secondly guidance will be published by AFS collecting knowledge from across the country to assist planners and researchers.

The Alcohol Deaths Research Network will meet every two months, with teleconferencing available. The meetings will allow researchers to bring up issues in their own audits in a confidential setting and discuss them with other people working on similar projects.

Alcohol death audits involve analysis of individual cases where death has occurred. Areas which have undertaken alcohol death audits have said the work gives a new perspective on an entrenched problem which can be intimidatingly complicated. We know however that examining files, and speaking to those who knew the people who died, can allow understanding of where opportunities for care and support may have been missed.

While AFS is currently supporting new research projects across the country, we hope these projects will spur wider take up of alcohol deaths prevention work. Most importantly we want to see the projects support work which lets researchers and planners make the most of their time and resources.

While previous audits are universally regarded as positive, we know also that they can be complex, lengthy processes. The guidance on alcohol death audits will cover the full range of issues which we know can affect the audit process. We believe many of these issues can be tackled in advance with expert guidance on all stages of research, from design to implementing recommendations.

The guidance will provide those new to this work with a how-to guide adaptable to their own requirements, and more experienced practitioners a reflective tool for refining their own reports.

AFS is aiming to establish the researcher support network in the next couple of months, and publish the guidance on alcohol death audits in summer 2020.

To get involved in either project, or for more information, please contact Simon Jones, Policy and Development Coordinator, at or 0141 572 6593.