Alcohol deaths continue to rise in Scotland but fewer teens drinking

Alcohol-related deaths for adults have risen for the fourth year in a row in Scotland, according to new figures.

Figures released by NHS Health Scotland revealed an average of 22 deaths a week due to alcohol misuse in 2016 – more than two and a half times the number for 1981.

Experts have said the increase is “very concerning”.


Deaths were found to be eight times higher in the most deprived areas compared with more affluent areas.

However, the figures also revealed that fewer teenagers are drinking than ever before.

The latest data showed that 66 per cent of 15-year-olds and only 28 per cent of 13-year-olds said they had ever consumed alcohol. This is the lowest since records began in 1990.

Minimum pricing

On 1 May, Scotland became the first country in the world to set a 50 pence per unit minimum price for alcohol.

It is estimated the new law will save 58 lives in its first year and reduce hospital admissions by 1,300.

Former Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said she was “confident” that minimum pricing “will make a significant difference to the harms shown in this report”.

“Those that drink most heavily and live in deprived areas experience the greatest levels of harm, and they will benefit most from minimum unit pricing”, she added.

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