DDN July_Aug_2022 DDN July/August 2022 | Page 4


Alcohol deaths five times higher in Scotland ’ s deprived areas

Rates of alcohol-specific deaths are almost five times higher in the 10 per cent most deprived areas of Scotland , according to figures from Public Health Scotland ( PHS ), with rates of alcohol-related hospital stays eight times higher .

Population-level alcohol consumption – which is estimated from retail sales figures – was roughly the same in 2021 as the previous year , says the MESAS monitoring report 2022 , which is part of the ongoing Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland ’ s Alcohol Strategy ( MESAS ) programme . COVID-19 restrictions were still affecting on-trade premises such as pubs , clubs and restaurants in 2021 , meaning that 85 per cent of all alcohol sold was through retail premises . Almost 1,200 people died of alcohol-related causes in Scotland in 2020 , an average of 23 per week . Alcohol-specific death and hospital rates are at least twice as high among men , and highest in the 55-64 age range .
‘ Today ’ s MESAS report shows that population-level alcohol consumption in Scotland has been maintained at a similar level to that seen in 2020 , the lowest level observed in the available data ,’ said public health intelligence adviser at PHS , Vicki Ponce Hardy . ‘ However , it also clearly highlights that significant inequalities persist in both alcohol consumption and the harm it causes . The most recent survey data show that almost a quarter of adults in Scotland still drink more than the recommended low risk weekly drinking guideline . Among those exceeding the guideline , it ’ s those in the lowest income group who are likely to consume the most . In the 10 per cent most deprived areas of Scotland , rates of alcoholspecific death were nearly five times higher , and alcohol-related hospital stays were nearly eight times higher , than in the 10 per cent least deprived areas . Like all harm caused by alcohol , this is preventable .’
The Scottish Government should introduce legislation
In 2020 , 1,190 people died in Scotland due to a cause wholly attributable to alcohol , an average of nearly 23 people per week . Alcohol-specific death rates increased between 2019 and 2020 , an increase that was largely driven by deaths among males aged 45 years and over . Alcohol-specific death rates are consistently higher in Scotland than in England & Wales .
Rates of alcohol-specific death and alcohol-related hospital stays were at least twice as high for men as women and were highest in the 55 – 64 year age group .
Inequalities by area deprivation were stark . In the 10 % most deprived areas of Scotland , rates of alcohol-specific death were nearly five times higher , and rates of alcohol-related hospital stays nearly eight times higher , than in the 10 % least deprived areas .
Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland ’ s Alcohol Strategy ( MESAS )
to restrict alcohol marketing ‘ where it has powers to do so ’, says a report from Alcohol Focus Scotland , including outdoor and public spaces , print publications , merchandise branding , and sports and event promotions . The action is necessary to address a situation where people are being ‘ bombarded by booze ads ’ that normalise and encourage drinking at the expense of health , it states .
MESAS monitoring report 2022 at publichealthscotland . scot / publications / mesas-monitoringreport-2022
Realising our rights : how to protect people from alcohol marketing at www . alcohol-focusscotland . org . uk /

Online casino spending highest in deprived areas

Half of festival MDMA fake

SPENDING ON ONLINE GAMING PRODUCTS like casino , slot and bingo games is disproportionately concentrated in the UK ’ s most deprived areas , according to a report from the National Centre for Social Research ( NatCen ) and the University of Liverpool . While betting on sports events like racing and football was the most popular overall in terms of numbers participating , gaming carries a higher probability of heavy losses , the document states .
The research , which was commissioned by GambleAware , analysed almost 140,000 online gambling accounts from seven major providers over the period of a year . It found that almost 30 per cent of gaming accounts came from the most deprived areas compared to 13 per cent in the least deprived . The top 20 per cent of accounts by amount staked generated more than 90 per cent of operator revenue , the report adds , meaning that ‘ a vital few customers are providing the lion ’ s share of revenue for major gambling operators ’.
Data for sports betting , meanwhile , showed ‘ more modest variations across the deprivation range ’ in terms of both participation and share of operator revenue . The research ‘ adds to the growing body of evidence showing that harms from gambling are falling disproportionately on the most deprived communities ,’ said GambleAware CEO Zoë Osmond . Patterns of play at https :// natcen . ac . uk /
FORTY-FIVE PER CENT of the substances sold as MDMA at English music festivals last year contained no MDMA at all , according to research by The Loop . Two years previously just 7 per cent of the MDMA sold was fake , constituting ‘ a substantial shift in the UK drugs landscape between 2019 and 2021 ’.
The rise in ‘ copycat ’ ecstasy was caused by lack of demand as a result of COVID lockdowns and compounded by Brexitrelated supply chain issues , says the study , which was produced in association with Cardiff and Liverpool universities . Most of the substances sold as ecstasy instead contained drugs like cathinones or caffeine , with The Loop warning of the risks of similar unknown substances being sold during this summer ’ s festival season .
‘ The sharp rise in synthetic cathinone prevalence in the UK in the summer of 2021 coincided with a unique combination of events including Brexit and the reopening of nightlife after 16 months of lockdowns , months ahead of other European nations ,’ said The Loop ’ s director , Professor Fiona Measham . Study at journals . sagepub . com / doi / full / 10.1177 / 20503245221099209