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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2007, 17:05 GMT
Drink 'kills twice as many Scots'
Man drinking
The gap between the sexes has widened since 1991
Men and women in Scotland are twice as likely to die an alcohol-related death as people in the UK as a whole, according to new research.

The Office for National Statistics analysed the geographical variations in drink-related death rates in the UK between 1991 and 2004.

Fifteen of the 20 areas with the highest male alcohol-related death rate were in Scotland.

Glasgow had the UK's highest death rate among men and women from 1998 to 2004.

A spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: "These figures show exactly why tackling the misuse of alcohol is a top priority for Glasgow.

"There is already a wide range of treatment programmes available in the city but we are fully aware there is much more to be done.

"We are placing as much emphasis upon prevention to identify and tackle alcohol problems at an early stage."


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There were 2,372 alcohol-related deaths in Scotland in 2005, an increase of 72% since 1995.

Between 2002 and 2004, the alcohol-related death rate for Scots men was 39.1 per 100,000 of the population, compared with 17.4 across Britain.

The figure was 15.7 per 100,000 for women in Scotland, compared with 8.1 in the UK as a whole.

Across Britain, the drink-related death rate for men was double that of females.

However, the gap between the sexes has widened since 1991.

'Highly disturbing'

The death rate for both sexes was highest in the 55 to 74 age group, although the death rate rose most rapidly among 35 to 54-year-olds.

The Scottish Executive has published a new action plan to tackle alcohol abuse.

The proposals include the extension of a pilot scheme in which under-18s "test purchase" alcohol as part of "sting" operations to catch shopkeepers red-handed.

The plan also includes the development of a research-based substance misuse school education programme.

Shona Robison, the SNP's health spokeswoman, described the statistics as "highly disturbing".

We have to examine even tougher measures to turn this distressing situation around
Shona Robison MSP
SNP health spokesman

"It's a national tragedy that Scotland's record of alcohol related deaths is now twice as bad as anywhere else in the UK, and that the situation is worsening, not improving," she said.

"It's time to tackle Scotland's binge drinking culture, which is why we support measures to extend the alcohol test purchasing pilot to clamp down on underage drinking.

"We know, however, that we have to examine even tougher measures to turn this distressing situation around."

Scottish Conservative health spokeswoman Dr Nanette Milne said: "These stark statistics are the most visible consequence of the damage that excessive drinking can create - but behind the figures are real lives that have been destroyed and grieving families devastated.

"The education of children about the consequences of underage drinking needs to begin before they are old enough to try and buy alcohol for themselves."

How Scotland compares to the rest of Europe

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22 Feb 07 |  Scotland
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02 Nov 06 |  Scotland
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30 Aug 06 |  Scotland
Alcohol plan branded 'a failure'
18 Aug 06 |  Scotland
Drink culture death rate warning
05 Jan 06 |  Scotland

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