Social costs

The burden of social harm from drinking alcohol is substantial. Alcohol is a recognised as a contributory factor in a wide range of social problems including anti-social behaviour, crime, violence, domestic violence, strained relationships, family breakdown, child abuse and child neglect.

  • Alcohol was a factor in half of those accused of homicide in Scotland in 2003
  • 1 in 6 of those 15-year-olds who have drunk alcohol reported trying drugs and 1 in 7 reported having unprotected sex as a consequence of alcohol consumption
  • 65,000 Scottish children are estimated to live with a parent whose drinking is problematic
  • A quarter of children on the Child Protection Register are estimated to be there due to parental alcohol or drug misuse
  • One in three divorces cite excessive drinking by a partner as a contributory factor
  • Emergency departments in Scotland deal with over 70 alcohol-related assaults every day.

Cost to Scotland of alcohol misuse

  • Alcohol-related problems are estimated by the Scottish Government to cost Scotland £3.6 billion every year - that's £900 for every person
  • £820m per year in reduced output and productivity, including work days lost due to alcohol- related absenteeism
  • £405m per year in NHS services
  • £170m per year in social work services
  • £385m per year in criminal justice and emergency services
  • £418m per year in human costs (e.g. victims of alcohol-related crime in terms of physical and emotional costs)