Alcohol is a drug
Alcohol is a legal drug when consumed according to law. In Scotland, the drug is seen as an integral part of Scottish life; used to celebrate, commiserate and socialise.
It’s also a toxic substance that can create dependence and causes serious health and social problems. Drinking too much, too often, increases the risk of cancer and liver disease, being involved in an accident, being a victim or perpetrator of crime, experiencing family breakdown, and losing employment.
Often, it’s people other than the drinker who feel the effects the most: children, family, friends, colleagues and those working in front line services like the NHS and police.
- More than 1 in 25 adults are dependent on alcohol.
- The UK has one of the highest rates of binge drinking in Europe.
- Just under a third of men (32%) and one in six women (16%) drink more than the advised weekly limits of 4 units a week.
Trends from 2003 to 2015 in self-reported usual weekly alcohol consumption are presented in Table 4.1 by sex for adults aged 16 and over.
For both men and women, there was a clear association between household income and the propensity to exceed the recommended limit of 14 units per week and thus be classified as a hazardous / harmful drinker (revised guidelines). Among women the age-standardised prevalence of hazardous / harmful drinking declined gradually from 24% of those in the highest income quintile drinking at hazardous / harmful levels to 11% of those in the two lowest income quintiles.
For men, levels of hazardous / harmful drinking were similar among the three quintiles with the highest income (40-46%) with a significantly lower level among the two lowest income quintiles (25% and 26%).
Alcohol related NHS Scotland, Social Work Services, Criminal Justice & Fire, Wider Economic Costs, Human/Social Costs to Scottish society in 2010 of alcohol misuse is estimated at approximately £3.6billion.
An estimated 17 million working days are lost each year by people missing work due to the effects of alcohol.
In 2018 there were a total of 1,136 alcohol related deaths in Scotland.