Tackling Scotland's alcohol problem

Scottish Alcohol Strategy

Over the past 15 years Scotland has become a global leader in effective alcohol policy, and alcohol-related deaths fell by a third between 2003 and 2012, although this has now stalled. The Scottish Government issued its strategy document in March 2009 called 'Changing Scotland's relationship with alcohol: a framework for action' which included:

  • A ban on multibuy price promotions of alcohol in off-licensed premises (October 2011)
  • The introduction of minimum unit pricing for all alcohol sold in Scotland (passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2012; enacted May 2018)
  • Support for the delivery and evaluation of brief interventions to reduce harmful alcohol use (2015)
  • Reducing the drink-driving limit in Scotland to 22mg/100ml (Dec 2014)

Key elements of the 2018 strategy include:

  • Preventing harm to children & young people through alcohol marketing on TV and in cinemas by restricting exposure to 9pm watershed
  • Consulting with the public on mandatory restriction of advertising in Scotland; urging the UK government to pass appropriate legislation, devolving such powers to Scotland if necessary
  • Evaluating the impacts of minimum unit pricing legislation after five years and reviewing its effects in October 2020
  • Updating statutory guidance on the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 with a public consultation in 2019
  • Keeping the licensing system under review to ensure it delivers for public health aims and to protect vulnerable communities
  • No involvement of the alcohol industry in policy development or public health messages/educational campaigns
  • Improving susbstance use education and using evidence-based campaigns to reach children and young people
  • Initiating marketing campaigns promoting the Chief Medical Officers' lower risk drinking guidelines and raising awareness of links between alcohol and cancer
  • Pressing alcohol producers to introduce labelling with health information, and if necessary mandating this
  • Increasing awareness, diagnosis and treatment of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
  • Building resilience and awareness in communities to reduce violence and improve safety.

Scottish Government Updates