Alcohol-related harm accounts for 22 deaths in Scotland a week, a shocking new report has found.
Figures released by the country’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, also revealed that alcohol causes an average of 674 hospital admissions per week.
The news comes shortly after a Scottish charity warned that children are being negatively impacted by high levels of alcohol marketing.
Dr Calderwood’s report said: “Levels of alcohol-related harm remain unacceptably high in Scotland”, adding “both deaths and admissions remain many times higher than in the 1980s”.
Alcohol sales are 20 per cent higher in the country than in England and Wales.
In a separate report, Alcohol Focus Scotland (AFS) found “clear evidence” that exposure to alcohol marketing at sporting and cultural events has led children to start drinking at a younger age.
It calls for an outright ban on alcohol marketing in streets, sports grounds and public transport, alcohol sponsorship of sport, music and cultural events, and restrictions on adverts in newspapers and on social media.
AFS also called for restrictions to be placed on alcohol advertisements on TV, and recommended an independent taskforce be set up to monitor the industry.
Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, Alison Douglas, said children “are seeing and hearing positive messages about alcohol when waiting for the school bus, watching the football, at the cinema or using social media”.
“We hope ministers will respond to this report and the groundswell of support for effective alcohol marketing restrictions in Scotland,” she added.
Scotland’s Children and Young People’s Commissioner Tam Baillie said the report “provides clear evidence on the nature and reach of alcohol marketing, and makes welcome and sensible proposals to safeguard our children”.
“The extent of the actions we take now are a good measure of the value we place on our children for the future”, he added.
Aileen Campbell, Minister for Public Health and Sport, also welcomed the report and said the Government “will consider it carefully”.