SNP hands unnecessary gifts to middle classes despite soaring deaths from drugs and alcohol – John McLellan

Added to the worst death toll from drug abuse in Europe, grim new data showing Scotland’s highest level of alcohol fatalities in 12 years can only point to serious failings in the Scottish government’s overall approach to addiction.

The number of deaths caused by alcohol is at a 12-year high (Picture: John Devlin)
The number of deaths caused by alcohol is at a 12-year high (Picture: John Devlin)

That Scotland has a historically bad relationship with alcohol is well known, but after 14 years running the health service with alcohol abuse as one of its public health priorities the SNP’s record is unenviable.

With a fall in 2019 now wiped out, the death rate has been rising since 2012, and while minimum alcohol pricing may have contributed to an overall drop in consumption it has clearly done little to tackle problem drinking, as those who opposed the policy warned.

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Now the government has alcohol advertising in its sights and again this will do nothing to reduce the death rate amongst people gripped by addiction. Prevention may well be better than cure, but when hundreds already have life-threatening addictions, stopping booze adverts in cinemas will not save a single life.

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Like drug addiction, costly but necessary rehab cannot be avoided because these are ill people in need of treatment, but the SNP continues to burn health funds with unnecessary giveaways like free dentistry now joining free prescriptions as benefits for the middle classes they didn’t request.

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Meanwhile the death toll of 41 per 100,000 people in the most deprived communities, compared to 10 in the least, carries on unabated.

In England, the average death rate is now 13 per 100,000 compared to Scotland’s 20.5. Whatever the SNP is prescribing, it’s not working.

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John McLellan is a Conservative councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston

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