Scots drinkers bingeing on weekly alcohol limit in a day

Picture: PA
Picture: PA
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More than one in ten Scots drink their entire weekly limit of alcohol in a single day, according to new figures.

The latest NHS drinking guidelines published in January advised men and women not to consume more than 14 units of alcohol per week and these should be spread out rather than saved up for a binge.

Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows Scotland had the second highest number of people bingeing on their units at 13 per cent, beaten only by Wales with 14 per cent.

The UK’s chief medical officers have warned there is no harmless level of drinking.

The Scottish Government has tried to introduce minimum unit pricing, which would provide a lower level price depending on strength, but the legislation is currently subject to a legal challenge from the Scottish Whisky Association.

Currently there are 670 hospital admissions a week in Scotland in relation to alcohol while 22 people a week die because of it.

Campaigners have called for higher tax rates on the price of cheap, high strength alcohol such as white ciders and own brand spirits, which appeal to harmful drinkers.
Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: “Compared with the rest of the UK, Scotland drinks more alcohol overall, has more binge drinkers and has the highest rates of alcohol-related deaths.

“People in our most deprived communities are eight times more likely to need hospital treatment and six times more likely to die because of alcohol.

“Increasing the price of alcohol is the most effective step we can take to reduce consumption and prevent harm.”

These findings should not surprise us as Scotland’s alcohol problem has not been solved, said Linda Bauld, professor of public health at Stirling University.

Tackling licensing and the spread of alcohol marketing would be needed alongside minimum unit pricing to tackle the problem, she said.

Public health minister Maureen Watt said: “Our Alcohol Framework contains over 40 measures to reduce consumption, support families and communities, promote positive attitudes and positive choices, and improve treatment and support services.

“A key measure in our Framework is minimum unit pricing which will target the cheap, high strength products that are more likely to be bought by those drinking at harmful levels. The framework has been shown to have an impact but there can be no room for complacency and that is why we are working on the next phase.”