A report published today (Wednesday 12 April 2017) by SHAAP, Alcohol Focus Scotland, BMA Scotland and Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol & Drugs contains a comprehensive set of policies aimed at curbing Scotland’s alcohol problem and addressing the associated health inequalities.
The report precedes the publication this summer of the Scottish Government’s ‘refresh’ of its 2009 strategy, Changing Scotland’s Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action. Scotland continues to have the highest level of alcohol consumption and harm in the UK. One million Scots drink above the recommended guidelines, and 22 Scots die because of alcohol every single week – twice the rate of the 1980s. The Scottish Government has cut direct funding for alcohol and drug prevention, treatment and support services by 22%, leaving the NHS to plug the gap.
The report’s recommendations include:
- Implementing a 50p minimum unit price as soon as possible
- Developing a strategic approach to reducing the availability of alcohol, and improving existing licensing regulation
- Reducing exposure of children to alcohol advertising and sponsorship
- Clearer information for consumers about the health risks associated with drinking
- More investment in alcohol prevention, treatment and support services
Eric Carlin, Director of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) said:
“The 2009 Alcohol Strategy bravely championed actions on price, availability and marketing as ‘best buys’, recognised by the World Health Organization to reduce the unnecessary suffering and deaths caused in Scotland because of an alcohol market that has been balanced in favour of companies’ profits, rather than protecting Scots’ health.
"There is no room for complacency when our alcohol harm statistics remain appalling. The health community is urging the Scottish Government to re-commit its efforts and resources over the longer term to support evidence-based policies that will save Scottish lives, even where the vested interests of multi-national companies range themselves, with no sense of shame, in opposition to this.”
1. The report, Changing Scotland's relationship with alcohol:Recommendations for further action, has been produced collaboratively by Alcohol Focus Scotland, BMA Scotland, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) and Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs. It has been informed by the findings and recommendations from the evaluation of Scotland's existing alcohol strategy, Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland's Alcohol Strategy (MESAS).
2. The partner agencies have also issued a related press release.