Reducing harm caused by alcohol


Reducing alcohol consumption can address health inequalities

Today NHS Scotland published The Scottish Burden of Disease Study, 2016 focusing on deprivation. 

The study found that people living in the poorest areas have double the rate of illness or early death than people in our wealthiest areas.  Nearly a third (32.9%) of early deaths and ill health in Scotland could be avoided if the whole population had the same life circumstances as the people who live our wealthiest areas.

The report also showed that early death and illnesses associated with the things that harm our health the most, like drugs, tobacco, poor diet, and alcohol, are more common in the poorest areas than in wealthiest areas.

In response to the report Alison Douglas, chief executive at Alcohol Focus Scotland said: 

“We all want to see a country where everyone has the opportunity to have a healthy and happy life.  Dealing with the structural drivers of poverty and inequality is necessary to enable that, however, reducing alcohol consumption is one of the few public health interventions that can also help.

“The introduction of minimum unit pricing will help reduce alcohol-related harm, but if we are serious about closing the gap and making the life chances of our children fairer we also need to tackle the widespread availability of alcohol, particularly in our poorest communities.”

You can read more about the impact of deprivation on health on NHS Scotland's website