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11.02.16

Call for greater devolution to help tackle Scotland’s alcohol problem

A reform of alcohol policy and greater devolution are needed to combat alcoholism in Scotland, according to a new manifesto from the public body created to reduce the impact of alcohol-related harm.

Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) has written personally to all members of the Scottish Parliament before May’s Holyrood elections, laying out its top 20 recommendations for action on alcohol.

The recommendations include ensuring that Scottish alcohol policy is explicitly evidence-based, that it considers the links between alcohol-related harm and social and economic disadvantage, that it includes advocacy bodies representing nurses, doctors, current and recovering alcoholics and family support organisations, and the devolution of powers from Westminster to the Scottish government over alcohol advertising.

SHAAP chair Dr Peter Rice said: “We represent health professionals who are in the frontline, dealing with the problems that alcohol causes to individuals and communities on a daily basis. There has been much good work in Scotland in recent years in prevention and in helping individuals and families, but much remains to be done.”

Last week it was revealed that alcohol-related deaths have risen across the UK for the second year in a row, to 8,697.

People are two times more likely to die of an alcohol-related health problem in Scotland than in the rest of the UK, with twenty people dying every week.

Alcohol-related problems are estimated to cost Scotland over £2bn every year.

The recommendations also include establishing a national licensing authority, identifying priority groups for targeted prevention and intervention measures, and implementing legislation for Minimum Unit Pricing, which sets a floor price per unit of alcohol.

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