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22nd June 2017

Comment from the Alcohol Information Partnership

Commenting on yesterday’s report from NHS Health Scotland on alcohol Dave Roberts Director General of the Alcohol Information Partnership said

“Today’s report from NHS Health Scotland highlights how consumption of alcohol, alcohol related deaths and harm in Scotland continue to fall, and show that the vast majority of people in Scotland (74%) that choose to drink do so within the Chief Medical Officers guidelines.


According to official data in Scotland alcohol related deaths have fallen by 31% since peaking in 2006, average weekly consumption has declined from  16.1 units in 2003 to 12.9 units, binge drinking has declined by 18%, underage drinking has halved and harmful drinking is down by over 20%.


The fact that sales of alcohol are higher in Scotland than in the rest of the UK is in part to be expected given the amount of sales made to tourists visiting Scotland, the historic home of Scotch whisky, and the importance of tourism to the Scottish economy.


Data shows that those living in poorer communities suffer greater levels of harm but also drink the least amount of alcohol per head.  This highlights the complexity of health inequalities and the relationship between poverty and multiple health problems related to a complex range of issues such as smoking, obesity, physical activity, housing and employment as well as alcohol.


Proven, targeted initiatives are being designed and implemented by partnerships of retailers, bars, the public sector and the alcohol industry in order to successfully tackle harmful levels of consumption while not punishing the majority of moderate drinkers.”



  • Average weekly alcohol consumption has declined from 16.1 units a week in 2003 to 12.9 units in 2015. (Scottish Health Survey)
  • Binge drinking has declined 18% since 2003. Levels of binge drinking in Scotland are still above their Great British counterparts (Scottish Health Survey)
  • Harmful drinking has fallen by 23% for men and 28% for women since 2003. (Scottish Health Survey)
  • The prevalence of pupils drinking in the last week, for both age groups and sexes has more than halved since 2004, and now at the lowest level since the survey began. (Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey)
  • In 2014, there were 1,152 alcohol-related deaths registered in Scotland. Alcohol related deaths in Scotland have fallen by 31% since peaking in 2006. (ONS)




For further information contact Dave Roberts on 07733323350 or