Tackling Scotland's Alcohol Problem

Doctors welcome decrease in alcohol hospital discharges: further measures needed

28th May 2013

New statistics published today by the Information Services Division (ISD) report a 1% decrease in alcohol-related discharges from hospital in 2011/12, against the previous year, and a 13% decrease since 2007/08 [1]. While welcoming this apparent decrease, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems is urging caution over the interpretation of these figures.

Dr Peter Rice, Chair, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), said,

“We welcome the slight reported decrease in alcohol-related discharges from Scottish hospitals, but there are no grounds for complacency. A range of measures have been implemented in recent years which we believe could be starting to have an impact. These include more effective and increased alcohol screening, greater public awareness and better licensing regulations. However, there is consistent evidence that alcohol-related harm falls during periods of economic recession. Affordability is likely to be a significant contributory factor to these new findings, we believe this is what we are seeing here and we should not rely on economic recession to reduce alcohol harm. We continue to support the introduction of minimum unit pricing, which will have a targeted effect in improving the health of those experiencing the most harm from alcohol. Benefits from this move will be sustained over time”.

Dr Rice added, 

“Alcohol-related hospital discharges in Scotland are still over three times as high as in the 1980’s and people living in the most deprived areas of Scotland continue to be disproportionately affected by alcohol-related harm. In all five years during which the latest statistics were gathered, the rate of alcohol-related general acute hospital discharges was approximately seven times greater for patients living in the most deprived areas compared to those living in the least deprived areas”.

Correction and amendment – ‘The (Ir)responsibility deal? Big business and public health

13th May 2013

On the 15th April SHAAP (Scottish Health Action on Alcohol) published ‘The (Ir)responsibility deal? Big Business and Public Health. 

It has come to our attention that the document contained a factual error; page 11 of the original stated that ‘Freedom to Choose’ received funding from the tobacco industry.

After careful investigation, we now believe that this is not the case and we unreservedly apologise for the error. The document has now been amended and is available to download on our website.

Scottish Doctors and Health Advocates welcome Court of Session judgement on Alcohol Minimum Unit Pricing

7th May 2013

Doctors and health campaigners today welcomed the Court of Session judgement that, contrary to efforts by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and other alcohol industry partners to block the implementation of Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol in Scotland, the measure falls within the competence of the Scottish Parliament and is compatible with EU law.

Dr Peter Rice, Chair of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), said,

“We urge the Scottish Government to move quickly to implement this important legislation. In parallel, the alcohol industry needs to desist from efforts to block the implementation of this evidence-based policy”.

“The cost of alcohol relative to incomes is a crucial determinant in rates of harm. This is why the cost of alcohol needs to be regulated. The measures Scotland is taking have been supported by health bodies throughout the world. The alcohol industry should drop their opposition to minimum unit price, accept democratically determined controls and stop putting private profit ahead of public health.”


15th April 2013

Latest Scottish Government statement on MUP

Minimum Unit Pricing is essential for reducing alcohol-related harm in Scotland. This view is supported by the Scottish Parliament, the public health community, the Police, children’s charities and much of civic Scotland. The legislation embodies the pre-eminence that the European Treaties place on health and the life of humans, and the recognition that it is for the Member States to determine the level of protection which they wish to afford to public health and the way in which that level is to be achieved.

Scottish Cancer Prevention Network Latest Newsletter

27th March 2013

SCPN Newsletter Volume 4, Issue 1 includes a summary of the SHAAP report on Cancer and Alcohol.

SHAAP welcomes proposed changes to drink drive laws

21st March 2013

The news that the Scottish Government plans to reduce the drink drive limit will be welcomed by most Scots. The majority (74%) of those who contributed to the recent government consultation agreed that the limit should be reduced to 50 mg per 100 ml of blood. This is long overdue and in line with most other EU countries; not unfortunately with England.

Majority in favour of reducing the drink drive limit in Scotland

21st March 2013

Reducing the Drink Driving Limit in Scotland

Most respondents said that drink driving limits should be reduced in Scotland; 102 (74%) said yes, 33 (24%) said no. 

There was widespread agreement with the Scottish Government proposal for a reduction in the blood limit, an equivalent reduction in the breath limit and an equivalent reduction in the urine limit. Of the 102 respondents who supported a reduction in the drink drive limits, 89 respondents (87%) said 'yes' and 11 (11%) disagreed. 

The main consequences envisaged for these proposals were fewer road accidents, fewer casualties and the reduced risk of road accidents. 

SHAAP responds to Further Options for Alcohol Licensing

19th March 2013

SHAAP has responded to the Scottish Government consultation paper on Further Options for Alcohol Licensing.

Unhealthy drinking widespread around the world, CAMH study shows

6th March 2013

The global burden of disease and injury attributable to alcohol is large and growing. In 2010, it wasresponsible for 5.5 per cent of this overall burden, third after high blood pressure and tobacco smoking, among 67 risk factors overall. Full report in the March edition of Addiction.

SHAAP has prepared a response to Department of Health’s Review of the Balance of Competencies: Health published in November 2012

27th February 2013

See a copy of our response.

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