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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 June 2006, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
New moves to tackle drink culture
Man drinking
An action plan will be published later this year
Alcohol misuse has been identified by ministers as Scotland's next major health issue, it has emerged.

The Scottish Executive is expected to urge parents not to drink in front of young children.

Deputy Health Minister Lewis Macdonald said everyone must do more to tackle drink-related problems. An action plan will be published later this year.

The Scottish National Party is calling for drink adverts to be banned on children's football strips.

We are determined to build a Scotland in which we treat alcohol with respect
Lewis Macdonald
Deputy Health Minister

Mr Macdonald said more than 20m had been made available over two years to tackle drink-related problems.

"Scotland has a well-known culture of drinking that dates back centuries and has a massive human and financial cost to our society," he said.

"While government will always have a role to play, we all must do more to tackle alcohol-related problems.

"Producers, the licensed trade and retailers as well as the general public have a responsibility to promote sensible drinking."

Wide-ranging discussions

He said the executive's updated alcohol action plan would be published later this year.

"Wide-ranging discussions have taken place with stakeholders on what proposals should be considered," he added.

"Decisions on how to proceed have yet to be finalised, but we are determined to build a Scotland in which we treat alcohol with respect."

Scotland needs a comprehensive debate on the way forward between the alcohol industry, the health sector, voluntary groups and the police
Stewart Maxwell
SNP deputy spokesman

Help group Alcohol Focus Scotland said drink problems cost Scotland about 1.1bn a year.

The SNP's deputy health spokesman, Stewart Maxwell, wants tougher action.

He has called on the alcohol industry to agree a voluntary code of conduct on advertising alcohol products to children.

He said: "Scotland needs a comprehensive debate on the way forward between the alcohol industry, the health sector, voluntary groups and the police.

"Simply legislating against irresponsible drinking will not work. A comprehensive solution will only come from a co-ordinated approach from all of these groups.

Alcohol poisoning

"That's why I'm calling on drinks companies as a first step to follow a voluntary code of conduct regarding children and the advertising of alcohol.

"I don't think it's acceptable that children's football strips are allowed to be adorned with alcohol adverts."

Meanwhile, a doctor in Dundee has spoken of concern at having to treat 11-year-olds for alcohol poisoning.

Dr Bill Morrison, of Ninewells Hospital, said problem drinkers seemed to be getting younger.


SEE ALSO:
Work suffers from staff hangover
01 Jun 06 |  Scotland
Drink culture death rate warning
05 Jan 06 |  Scotland
Urgent meeting on new drink laws
20 Nov 05 |  Scotland
Drinking laws passed amid chaos
16 Nov 05 |  Scotland


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