100,000 face testing over booze habit

MORE than 100,000 people in the Lothians will have been screened for alcoholism by the beginning of next year, health chiefs have said.

As part of NHS Lothian's alcohol brief intervention scheme, an eighth of the population will be targeted.

Already, several thousands have been grilled by their GP on the issue, an initiative which it is hoped will make serious inroads in the Lothians' battle with drink.

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For those who are found to drink too much, they are pointed in the direction of counselling, medication or other options.

Early indications suggest the project has been a success, and a recent health board document shows the organisation is well on target to hit 100,000 by next March, making it one of the most proactive NHS organisations in Scotland.

There is no shortage of statistics showing how desperate the alcohol dependency situation is in and around Edinburgh. One out of every seven hospital beds in the area is taken up by someone who has been admitted because of drink addiction, while it is estimated a drinker is discharged from hospital every 90 minutes.