Time for real action on alcohol problems

The SNP Government's proposals to tackle Scotland's alcohol problem are leading the way as new figures show the death rate from alcohol related illnesses to be double previous estimates.

 New research shows alcohol-related illnesses could be killing one in 20 Scots - twice as many as previously thought with 3,000 people dying from alcohol related illnesses in 2003.

Commenting on the figures SNP Depute Leader and Cabinet Secretary for Health Nicola Sturgeon said;

"To have one in 20 Scots dying from alcohol-related causes is a truly shocking statistic.

"Drinking alcohol is part of Scottish culture, but it's clear that many people are drinking too much and damaging their health in the process.

"Alcohol misuse is the biggest public health challenge we face and the Scottish Government has made crystal clear our determination to get to grips with it."

Lothians MSP Angela Constance, a member of the Parliament's Justice Committee who recently spent the night on call with an ambulance crew seeing the impact of alcohol on communities at first hand said;

"Scotland needs to take a long hard look at our relationship with alcohol and adopt the radical action we need to tackle this problem.

"Alcohol abuse is costing our public services £2.25 billion, and much more in terms of human misery as these figures starkly demonstrate.

“These disturbing figures underline exactly why the Scottish Government have brought forward tough new measures to tackle Scotland’s problems of alcohol misuse.

"It is  vital that Parliament back  the full range of proposals to tackle  Scotland's drinking  culture, including  minimum pricing, a ban on discount promotions, a duty on licensing boards to consider raising the off-sales purchase age to 21, and a social responsibility fee for some retailers.

"Our society cannot afford for politicians to waste time arguing over this, we need to work together to take radical action now."

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