Edinburgh tops league of most hazardous drinkers in Scotland

EDINBURGH has the highest number of hazardous drinkers in Scotland with one in three drinking more than the recommended weekly limit, new figures show.

Friday, 27th September 2019, 5:23 pm
Edinburgh has the highest number of hazardous drinkers in Scotland.

And the Capital also has a higher average alcohol consumption per week than anywhere else in the country.The latest Scottish Health Survey, published by the Scottish Government, shows 33 per cent of Capital residents drink more than the recommended 14 units of alcohol a week - the equivalent of six pints of beer, one and a half bottles of wine or half a 750ml bottle of spirits.That compares with the 25 per cent of Scots overall who exceed the recommended level.

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Among men in Edinburgh, 44 per cent drink more than the limit - compared with the Scottish average of 34 per cent.And 20 per cent of women in the Capital are also classed as hazardous drinkers, compared with an average of 16 per cent.The survey also found average consumption in Edinburgh was 14.5 units a week, 18.8 units for men and 9.7 for women.Lothian MSP and Tory health spokesman Miles Briggs said: “It is very concerning that a third of people in Lothian are putting themselves at risk from the amount of alcohol they consume weekly.“The drinking culture in Scotland is a complex one, but ultimately it is the responsibility of the individual for how much they decide to drink.“Although we are seeing some improvement since the introduction of minimum unit pricing, there is no single solution to harmful drinking in Scotland.“Ministers must introduce more services for early intervention and properly invest in Alcohol and Drug Partnerships.”Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland said people drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week increased their risk of many illnesses including cancer, heart problems and liver disease.“The introduction of minimum unit pricing last year will go some way to help reduce alcohol-related harm, but more still needs to be done. If we are serious about changing Scotland’s problematic relationship with alcohol we also need to tackle the widespread availability of alcohol. Edinburgh’s Licensing Board has responsibility for regulating availability of alcohol in local communities and I hope they will consider the implications of these figures for their approach.”

The survey found 33 per cent of Edinburgh residents exceed the recommended maximum of 14 units per week.

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A Scottish Government spokeswoman said preventing alcohol-related harm was a key priority and the three per cent decrease in alcohol sales following the introduction of minimum unit pricing in May 2018 was promising.

"Tackling the affordability, availability and attractiveness of alcohol is the best way to reduce consumption and harms," she said.

“We have invested around £800 million to tackle problem alcohol and drug use since 2008 and provided an additional £20 million per year that has directly funded local prevention, treatment, and recovery services in areas all across Scotland. In addition we announced through our 2019-20 programme for Government a further investment of £20 million over two years to support local services and provide targeted support.”

Overall average alcohol consumption in Edinburgh is 14.5 units per week.
Men in Edinburgh drink an average of 18.8 units per week. Only South Lanarkshire is higher at 19.2.
Woemn in Edinburgh drink an average of 9.7 units per week. Only Aberdeen is higher at 10.8.