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Last Updated: Monday, 19 December 2005, 14:28 GMT
Scottish drink death toll goes up
Pint being pulled
Scotland's heavy drinking culture is pushing up the figures
The death toll from drinking has risen, according to figures released by the Scottish Executive.

They show that 2,052 people were killed by alcohol-related conditions last year and more people went to hospital for problems linked to drink.

Over the last five years the number of alcohol-related deaths has risen 21%.

Figures released last week showed a significant rise in emergency cases connected to alcohol because of Scotland's heavy drinking culture.

Deputy Health Minister Lewis Macdonald said: "Government has a role to play in tackling alcohol related problems. But each and every one of us has a responsibility to respect alcohol and to drink sensibly.

"Our licensing system dated back to the 1970s, and no longer reflects Scottish society in the 21st century. That is why we passed legislation to reform outdated licensing laws.

Most NHS cases per 100,000 people
Western Isles: 1,554
Glasgow: 1,430
Inverclyde: 1,254

"The new licensing laws will respond to changing habits and behaviour. These reforms include measures to tackle the irresponsible promotions that fuel binge drinking.

Scottish National Party deputy health spokesman Stewart Maxwell said the figures highlighted the "folly" of the executive's decision to ease national restrictions on pub opening times.

"It seems that barely a day goes by without more figures being released which expose the grim toll alcohol is taking on Scotland's health," he said.

"Scotland is simply not ready for round-the-clock drinking and extended licensing hours will have a catastrophic impact on the nation's health."

Fewest NHS cases per 100,000 people
East Dunbartonshire: 321
Angus: 357
Aberdeenshire: 418

Mr Maxwell added: "We need a full, mature national debate on how we tackle Scotland's bevvy culture."

The Conservatives criticised ministers' policies on alcohol as not being effective enough.

"These figures confirm the increasingly serious problem of excessive alcohol consumption," health spokeswoman Nanette Milne said.

"Just last week we were told about the huge rise in emergency admissions for chronic liver disease and its complications. Both sets of figures are a massive cause for concern.

"Education is clearly required and we have to take action to curb under-age drinking."




SEE ALSO:
Alcohol takes toll on Scots NHS
15 Dec 05 |  Scotland
Surgeon calls for pub drink limit
11 Dec 05 |  Scotland
New bill reforms laws on alcohol
01 Mar 05 |  Scotland
Scots' excess drink cost 1.1bn
28 Feb 05 |  Scotland
Binge drinking link to rapes rise
17 Sep 04 |  Scotland


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