Tackling Scotland's Alcohol Problem

Dr Anne Whittaker Occasional Online

28th July 2015

Dr Anne Whittaker of NHS Lothian and Edinburgh Napier University spoke at SHAAP's 2015 Alcohol Occasional seminar series about her work examining the concept of recovery in relation to alcohol and mental health - a summary of her presentation's key findings may be found here.

Dr Fiona Cuthill Alcohol Occasional online

23rd June 2015

Dr Fiona Cuthill of the University of Edinburgh spoke at SHAAP's 2015 Alcohol Occasional seminar series about her work examining the experiences of those who had found themselves destitute following the UK's asylum process - a summary of her presentation's key findings may be found here.

Response to the Scottish Parliament's Alcohol Bill

23rd June 2015

SHAAP's response to the Scottish Parliament's Alcohol (Licensing, Public Health and Criminal Justice) Bill is now available online.

SHAAP Scottish Parliament Briefing: June 4th 2015

4th June 2015

SHAAP Scottish Parliament Briefing: June 4th Debate on Changing Scotland's Relationship with Alcohol

Prepared by SHAAP’s Chair Dr. Peter Rice and Director Eric Carlin.

This briefing has been prepared for the debate on alcohol in the Scottish Parliament on 4th June 2015. It complements  briefings from our partners in Alcohol Focus Scotland, the British Medical Association and Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs.

Health NGOs resign en masse from EU Alcohol Forum

2nd June 2015

More than 20 health NGOs from across Europe, including SHAAP, have signed a letter of resignation from the European Union Alcohol and Health Forum in protest at the European Commission's failure to deliver an EU alcohol strategy, flying in the face of persistent demands from EU member states, the European Parliament and NGOs themselves.

In a joint press release issued today, the health bodies have also pointed out that there is no evidence that the Forum has had any impact whatsoever on public health. The industry representatives remain on the Forum. The health bodies have invited the Commission to propose new terms of engagement on health policy.

SHAAP has also issued a press release, supporting First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's call on 2nd June for the European Union to "give a higher priority to enabling member states to take the decisions they deem necessary to protect life and promote health". This includes supporting Scotland in implementing its Alcohol Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) policy.

OECD Report Presents Alarming Findings Regarding the UK’s Alcohol Use.

13th May 2015

A new report published on May 12th by the intergovernmental Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): ‘Tackling Harmful Alcohol Use: Economics and Public Health Policy’ found that the UK was the 11th heaviest-drinking country out of the 40 examined. Levels of alcohol consumption in the United Kingdom are above the OECD average and increased during the last 30 years.

On average, each person in the UK consumes 10.6 litres of pure alcohol a year, compared with 9.5 litres across the OECD’s 34 member countries. Furthermore initiation into alcohol drinking happens at increasingly early ages. In the United Kingdom, the proportion of 15 year olds who have experienced alcohol increased from 71% in 2002 to 75% in 2010.

Dangerous drinking among better-educated women has contributed to the UK increase in alcohol consumption over the last 30, bucking a downward trend in other industrialised countries. One in five woman graduates regularly drink ‘hazardously’ (defined as a weekly consumption of 21 units or more for men, or 14 or more for women) compared with one in ten for those with lower levels of education. Better-educated British men are also more likely to drink a hazardous amount than their less-educated counterparts, yet the difference is particularly pronounced for women.

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, launching the report in Paris stated: “This report provides clear evidence that even expensive alcohol abuse prevention policies are cost-effective in the long run and underlines the need for urgent action by governments.”

Compared with other countries in the OECD area, the United Kingdom has relatively high levels of taxation for all types of alcoholic beverages. The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drivers is 0.08%, the highest in OECD countries, although Scotland lowered the limit to 0.05% in 2014 (as in the majority of OECD countries). The countries of the United Kingdom have adopted a wide-range of policies to regulate on- and off-premise sales of alcoholic beverages and promotion of alcohol products, but other legally binding regulations (e.g. on sponsorships, sales promotions and health warnings on alcohol containers) are not yet applied at the national level.

Watch video Alcohol: tackling the heavy cost of harmful drinking for a summary of the report's findings.

Alcohol & Young People Conference Announced

8th May 2015

SHAAP: ALCOHOL & YOUNG PEOPLE - Thursday 27 August, Glasgow - location tbc.

In 2013 and 2014 SHAAP brought together policymakers and experts from the fields of genetics, neuroscience and social psychology to review and discuss new and emerging medical and scientific research about the impact of alcohol on the adolescent brain and implications for policy and practice.

This conference provides the opportunity for policymakers, people who work with young people and young people themselves to learn from the findings of the report and the latest research in the field. Attendees to the conference will have the opportunity to discuss the findings and use them to discuss and agree actions for themselves and for Scotland.

Journal of the Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh Vol 45

23rd April 2015

You can read Alan Carson's (Consultant Neuropsychiatrist, Department of Medical Rehabilitation and Department of Clinical Neurosciences, NHS Lothian, and part-time Senior Lecturer, Division of Psychiatry and Centre for Clinical Brain Studies, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK) Editorial on SHAAP's Alcohol and the Developing Adolescent Brain here. Past editions of the Journal can be found here.


SHAAP Policy Officer Vacancy

23rd April 2015

Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) is seeking to appoint a Policy Officer who is a highly skilled researcher, ideally with some experience of public health and/or in the alcohol field.

SHAAP provides a co-ordinated, coherent and authoritative medical and clinical voice on the need to reduce the impact of alcohol related harm on the health and wellbeing of people in Scotland and how to do this.  SHAAP aims to raise awareness and understanding of alcohol-related health problems with health practitioners, policy makers and the public and also evaluates current research and identifies strategies to reduce alcohol-related health damage, based on the best available evidence.  We work together with key organisations in the alcohol field in Scotland, the rest of the UK and worldwide, in tackling alcohol misuse.

The Policy Officer will be an excellent communicator and administrator and will also have an ability to self-manage and prioritise in a dynamic context.  The key focus of his/her work will be to support SHAAP Alcohol-related advocacy and educational activities through carrying out research, drafting briefing papers, monitoring media and policy activity, providing administrative support and organising events.

£29,815 pro rata (actual £23,852)
28 hours per week

Closing Date: 9.00 am on Monday 11th May 2015.

Interviews: Thursday 28th May 2015.

All applicants are required to submit a completed application form.

Informal enquiries to Eric Carlin, SHAAP Director, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Completed applications should be returned to:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Scottish MUP Case, Oral Hearing at European Court of Justice, 6th May 2015

23rd April 2015

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg will hold an oral hearing on 6th May 2015 to consider the Scottish Government's MInimum Unit Pricing legislation, which was enacted in April 2012, but has still to be implemented because of legal challenges from global alcohol producers. 

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