Alcohol-specific deaths in Scotland up by nearly a fifth
The number of alcohol-specific deaths in Scotland rose by 17 per cent between 2019 and 2020 , according to figures from National Records of Scotland ( NRS ). Deaths increased from 1,020 to 1,190 , the largest number recorded since 2008 , following a decline in the previous year . As with Scotland ’ s drug-related deaths – which again reached their highest-ever level in 2020 , as did those in England and Wales – the rate for alcohol-specific deaths is far higher in the most deprived areas , at more than four times the rate for the least deprived . Men accounted for more than twothirds of the deaths , with most among people in their 50s and 60s .
‘ It is devastating to hear that the number of deaths linked to alcohol harm has increased in Scotland ,’ said chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance , Professor Sir Ian Gilmore . ‘ This follows a similar pattern to elsewhere in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic and demonstrates the urgent need to act on this parallel health crisis . We cannot afford to continue ignoring the damage that alcohol is inflicting on communities around the UK . Though the Scottish Government has led the way with innovative alcohol harm prevention policies – like minimum unit pricing – there is still more to do to tackle alcohol harm , including ensuring access to alcohol treatment for all who need it . This must be backed up by urgent action from the UK government in the form of effective alcohol taxes and alcohol advertising restrictions on TV and online to protect children . Lives depend on it .’
' This follows a similar pattern to elsewhere in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic and demonstrates the urgent need to act .'
PROFESSOR SIR IAN GILMORE
Meanwhile the Scottish Government and Scottish Drugs Forum have launched a new campaign to mark International Overdose Awareness Day . Stop The Deaths will feature billboard , TV and radio adverts over the next few months , as well as a dedicated website , www . stopthedeaths . com . ‘ This is a significant
Gambling premises ten times more prevalent in deprived areas
development in Scotland ’ s national naloxone programme and provides a chance for the public – people who are likely to witness an overdose – to fully engage with the programme and the national mission to reduce drug deaths ,’ said Scottish Drugs Forum CEO David Liddell .
Alcohol-specific deaths at www . nrscotland . gov . uk
Difficult decisions merseysidelieutenancy . weebly . com
MORE THAN 20 PER CENT of gambling premises are found in the most deprived areas of the country , compared to 2 per cent in the least deprived , according to a survey by the University of Bristol and the Standard Life Foundation .
Despite the increased prevalence of online gambling , almost half of the country ’ s gambling yield – around £ 5bn – was still coming from physical venues immediately before the first COVID lockdown , says The geography of gambling premises in Britain . The highest number of betting shops per capita are found in Glasgow , Liverpool , Middlesbrough and parts of London , the document states , with the most deprived areas also home to around 30 per cent each of amusement arcades and bingo venues .
There is little that local authority licensing teams can do to prevent ‘ clustering ’ of gambling premises , it adds , with ten per cent of schools having a gambling venue less than five minutes ’ walk away . Half of all gambling treatment facilities are also within 250 metres of the nearest gambling premises , it states . ‘ Those with the least resources are being targeted more , with twice as many gambling venues on their doorstep as supermarkets ,’ said Standard Life Foundation chief executive Mubin Haq . ‘ If we are to truly level up , the new gambling reforms
Mubin Haq : If we are to truly level up , new gambling reforms must take into account geography .
currently being considered must take into account the geography of gambling venues and give local authorities more control over licensing .’
Report at www . standardlifefoundation . org . uk
ONLY TEN LOCAL AUTHORITIES have been able to increase their spending on drug and alcohol treatment services in real terms since 2016 , according to analysis by the Labour Party for the House of Commons Library . All other councils experienced a ‘ real-term ’ budget cut , says Labour , with four – Medway , Staffordshire , Tyneside and Wiltshire – seeing real-term cuts of more than 40 per cent .
Overall , local authority treatment services have seen real-term cuts equivalent to 15 per cent since 2016-17 , it adds – from £ 762.37m to £ 689.76m – with dwindling public health budgets necessitating ‘ incredibly difficult decisions ’ about services . ‘ With deaths linked to alcohol and other drugs at an all-time high , urgent action must be taken to save lives ,’ said Alcohol Health Alliance chair Professor Sir Ian Gilmore .
4 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • SEPTEMBER 2021 WWW.DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS.COM