- Alcohol-specific deaths in Scotland increase
- Students as Change Agents
- Health charities call for action to save lives from Scotlands biggest killers
- Australian ministers agree to visible pregnancy warning
- 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
NICE Guidelines on FASD: Surveillance or Support?
NICE’s consultation on new guidance on preventing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) has made headlines, with disagreement on whether health data can and should be shared. How can we ensure people with FASD get support while supporting women’s health?
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) is consulting on guidance which calls for data on mothers’ alcohol consumption in pregnancy to be shared with GPs and other health practitioners. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) has voiced concerns about how mothers’ consent to data sharing will be managed under the proposals, while Adoption UK argued problems identifying people with FASD and supporting them requires systematic action.
We know from international data that without early identification and support, people with FASD can experience profound difficulties: one third have been imprisoned as adolescents, 94% experience mental health issues and life expectancy without support is just 34 years. Clearly we need to make sure that FASD is identified and people with FASD are supported from early in their lives.
FASD isn’t the only possible consequence of drinking during pregnancy. Alcohol-exposed pregnancy carries higher risks of wider health issues for mothers and babies such as miscarriage, premature, low birth-weight and longer-term developmental harm. But in a country where most people consume alcohol and 45% of pregnancies are unplanned there’s a real risk of people drinking without knowing they are pregnant.
Broadly speaking there are two ways we can help avoid alcohol-exposed pregnancies. First is helping people avoid getting pregnant if they choose, and second is helping them stop drinking when they are pregnant.
Scotland’s National Preconception Framework is currently being developed to help this situation. Better access to family planning services and contraception is one element of the framework. Another is ensuring that family and friends can help support healthy choices, for example by not drinking around someone who is pregnant, or trying to get pregnant.
Working with Women
Working with women is vital. Everyone wants their child to lead a happy, healthy life. But parents are people too, and many people in Scotland experience problems with drinking. If someone finds themselves pregnant and struggling with their drinking they should be able to access proper support for themselves, and the pregnancy if they choose to continue it.
Problems with alcohol come about for many reasons and recovery needs support. Access to alcohol services was a problem before COVID, with a 2014 report suggesting only 1 in 8 people living in Scotland accessed support for an alcohol problem. But with the crisis causing many people to increase their drinking, there is a real possibility those services will be squeezed even further.
Women who struggle to stop drinking during pregnancy need support to help them regain their lives – good support can transform people’s situations. There needs to be respect for women’s own needs and rights; before, during and after pregnancy. Recovery starts with respect and women facing pregnancy at the same time as an alcohol problem should expect nothing less.
We know there is no safe amount of alcohol to consume during pregnancy. This isn’t to panic people, it’s to recognise the importance of planning contraception and helping people to stop drinking if they choose to get pregnant.
A lot of the media coverage of the NICE guidelines focussed on women’s capacity to make their own decisions – as we said above, that’s something that healthcare has to preserve and respect.
Making healthy decisions means having access to good information. Recent research by the Alcohol Health Alliance UK found that while many products included a pictorial warning, only 15% of alcohol products provided a written explanation of the risks of drinking during pregnancy, and all of these were illegibly small.
So while we know there’s no safe amount to drink during pregnancy, we need alcohol producers to ensure their products give people information to help encourage healthy decisions.
Helping women plan their own lives with healthcare that works for them is crucial. But just as women should be able to rely on excellent healthcare tailored to them, we should all expect alcohol producers to promote health, not just profit. That can start with labelling.
23 September 2020.