Calls for minimum pricing to tackle rising alcohol problem

BMA Scotland is calling for minimum unit pricing of alcohol following a !0 per cent rise in alcohol-related deaths.
BMA Scotland is calling for minimum unit pricing of alcohol following a !0 per cent rise in alcohol-related deaths.

Efforts to tackle alcohol misuse in Scotland should be redoubled, a leading medical authority has said.

BMA Scotland said that it is essential for action, including minimum unit pricing, to be taken after a “worrying increase” in alcohol-related deaths was revealed by figures published by the National Records of Scotland.

The figures show that in 2016 there were 1,265 alcohol-related deaths, an increase of 10 per cent on the previous year and the highest annual total since 2010.

Dr Peter Bennie, BMA Scotland chairman, said: “These latest figures showing a worrying increase in alcohol-related deaths last year make clear the scale of the damage caused by Scotland’s relationship with alcohol.

“It underlines why as a country we need to redouble our efforts to tackle the harms caused by alcohol misuse, and why we need the Scottish Government’s coming alcohol strategy refresh to include the kind of wide-ranging measures the BMA and other alcohol campaigners recently called for, including action on marketing and availability.

“Chief amongst these though is the need for minimum unit pricing, a policy that big alcohol producers have spent far too long delaying and trying to prevent and which must be implemented as swiftly as possible once the legal process finally ends.”