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eFocus - August 2015

Alcohol sales rise in Scotland

The recent downward trend in the amount of alcohol sold per adult in Scotland appears to have stalled. The latest MESAS report shows 10.7 litres of pure alcohol was sold per adult last year, the equivalent of 41 bottles of vodka for every adult in Scotland. 72% of alcohol was sold through off-sales, the highest market share since recording began in 1994. Alcohol sales in Scotland were 18% higher than in England and Wales, mainly due to higher sales of lower-priced alcohol, particularly vodka, through supermarkets and off-licences. The report also found that more than half of off-sales alcohol was sold at less than 50p per unit. Public health minister Maureen Watt said the figures were disappointing and underlined the importance of addressing the affordability of alcohol through minimum unit pricing.

Concern over increase in alcohol deaths
There were 1,152 alcohol-related deaths in Scotland last year, an increase of 5% compared with 2013. Barbara O'Donnell, Acting Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland said: "It is really concerning that alcohol deaths have risen again in Scotland and particularly sad that so many Scots die from alcohol-related diseases when they are only in their 40s and 50s. People are dying because alcohol is far too cheap, it's available anytime, anywhere, and it's too heavily promoted." Figures from NRS
Alcohol guidelines 'unrealistic'
A new report suggests that current alcohol guidelines are unrealistic and largely ignored because they have little relevance to people's drinking habits. Researchers from UKCTAS found the daily intake suggestions are deemed irrelevant because most people don't drink every day but may drink heavily at the weekend. Separate advice for regular drinking and social occasion drinking were regarded as more relevant and flexible by the study participants.

Read our article: How much are we really drinking?
New substance misuse project in Glasgow
Three substance misuse organisations are teaming up to support people of all ages at risk of alcohol and drug addiction in Glasgow. The project involves Clearer Choices Glasgow (Addaction), Glasgow Council on Alcohol and Drink Wise Age Well. Read more
Police Scotland under fire over breath tests
Police Scotland has been criticised for not recording the number of roadside breath tests carried out outside of summer and festive drink-drive campaigns. The Lib Dems, who had asked for the figures, said greater transparency was needed over breath tests as a way of evaluating the use of police time. Read more
Paramedics are paying the price
Almost half of paramedics in the north east of England have been subject to alcohol-fuelled physical assaults whilst on duty, according to a new survey published by Balance. The report also reveals that 2 in 5 have been sexually assaulted or harassed by patients or members of the public who have drunk too much. Read more

Minimum pricing opinion due this week
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) Advocate General's opinion on the Scottish Government's minimum unit pricing legislation will be issued this Thursday, 3 September. While there are further legal processes ahead, hopefully we will be one step closer to getting this much-needed policy implemented in Scotland.

Latest research

Cancer risk even from light drinking

Alcohol use, socioeconomic deprivation and ethnicity in older people


Licensing training - PLH and Refresher

Licensing courses run from 9.15am-5pm at our training room in Glasgow city centre.
Next dates: Tuesday 13 October, Tuesday 3 November, Tuesday 1 December

More information and booking

Training for practitioners - alcohol awareness
AFS has been commissioned by Glasgow Addiction Services to run four alcohol awareness training sessions for tier 1 and 2 workers. We are also running customised training on alcohol and older people for care homes in the Borders. Contact us for details of the alcohol awareness and customised training we can deliver.

Global Alcohol Policy Conference 2015
The countdown is on! The Global Alcohol Policy Conference (GAPC) takes place from 7-9 October 2015 at the EICC, Edinburgh and will welcome researchers, NGOs, policymakers and health professionals from all over the world. For more information and registration please visit the conference website
Cross Party Group on Drug and Alcohol Misuse
5.30pm, 3 November 2015, Scottish Parliament
The topic for the next CPG will be confirmed soon. Please check the AFS website for details.
Alcohol Focus Scotland
166 Buchanan St, Glasgow G1 2LW
tel: 0141 572 6700
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