Cost of alcohol on Scots lives revealed

New figures show the high death toll from alcohol in health boards and constituencies across Scotland and expose the scale of Scotland’s alcohol problem compared to the rest of the UK.

Death rates in one constituency – Glasgow Shettleston are nearly 6 times the UK level or 574% of the UK average.

The figures, revealed in a Parliamentary Answer by Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon, add to the case for the Scottish Parliament to introduce serious measures to address Scotland’s relationship with alcohol and support the proposals put forward by the SNP to crack down on cheap alcohol and to encourage responsible drinking. 

The ten constituencies with the highest number of deaths as a percentage of the UK death rate (approx 14 deaths per 100,000) are:

Scottish Parliament Constituency        Alcohol related deaths as a % of UK average rate 2008  
1. Glasgow Shettleston                             574    
2. Glasgow Maryhill                                   420    
3. Greenock & Inverclyde                          371    
4. Dundee East                                         347    
5. Glasgow Springburn                              333    
6. Glasgow Baillieston                               331    
7. Dumbarton                                           307    
8. Glasgow Cathcart                                 292    
9. Glasgow Govan                                    289    
10.Paisley South                                      288    

Of the 73 Scottish Parliament constituencies, 64 of them have alcohol related death rates above the UK average and all but one health board has an alcohol related death rate above the UK average.

Amongst health boards Greater Glasgow and Clyde recorded the highest number of alcohol related deaths at 267% or nearly three times the UK average.

Commenting on the Glasgow figures SNP MSP Anne McLaughlin who represents the city said:

"These are shocking figures for Glasgow and show the scale of the challenge we face to tackle alcohol abuse.

"With the death rate from alcohol nearly 6 times higher in Shettleston than in the UK as a whole and for 6 Glasgow constituencies to be among the 10 highest death rates is a disturbing reality check for all politicians, professionals and the drinks industry.

"The scale of Glasgow's death toll from alcohol is shocking.  These deaths take a huge personal toll on families in the city as well as our communities and public services.

"Glasgow has started to fight off the sick man of Europe stereotype - we must show the same determination to end these deaths from drink."

Dundee West MSP Joe FitzPatrick, who asked for the figures said:

“The Scottish Government’s package of radical measures to encourage and promote responsible drinking alongside an end to alcohol at pocket money prices is a major part of ending this damaging death toll.

“These figures expose for all to see the dramatic impact alcohol has on health in Scotland.  There can be no doubt that we must take action on alcohol now before more lives are lost.

“All but nine of Scotland’s constituencies and all but one Scottish health board have death rates well above the UK average.  This is a clear demonstration of the scale of the problem we have to tackle and the unique situation Scotland is facing.

“We must take action now to avoid another generation of Scots dying through drink."