Make your voice heard about the future of minimum unit pricing in Scotland
The Scottish government is seeking views on the continuation and rate of minimum unit price (MUP) in Scotland, and have proposed their preferred option as an increase from 50p per unit to 65p. This announcement coincided with a new report from the University of Sheffield revealing that inflation and the COVID-19 pandemic have eroded the policy’s effectiveness. Raising the floor price is therefore essential to ensure MUP continues to save lives.
This table indicates the impact this price increase would have on different types of alcohol. A minimum price of 65p per unit is estimated to reduce the number of people drinking at a hazardous level by 15,742, and the number of those drinking at a harmful level by 11,403, compared with 60p per unit.
Drugs and alcohol policy minister Elena Whitham MSP said: ‘The recent rise in alcohol-specific deaths highlights the need for more to be done to tackle alcohol-related harm. Our world-leading MUP policy is one of the measures we know can make a difference.
‘Recent research estimated it has saved hundreds of lives, likely averted hundreds of alcohol-attributable hospital admissions each year – and also contributed to reducing health inequalities.’
Big Alcohol: Explained
The Institute of Alcohol Studies has launced a new film series to help explain important topics relating to the world of alcohol harm, research and policy.
The first in the series, Big Alcohol: Explained, looks at the main players in the multinational alcohol industry, their growth and profit strategies, how they influence health policy and shift blame of harm onto consumers, and why they damage the economy. The films will be useful for those starting out in the field of alcohol policy, including early career researchers, public health professionals and those working for charities that aim to reduce alcohol harm.
Calling time campaign sponsors the Scottish Masters Cup 2023
Every day in Scotland, more than three people lose their lives because of alcohol, and another 100 are hospitalised. The Calling Time campaign is based on the premise that Scottish sports fans, including those of big football clubs, should be able to enjoy sports without the constant nudge to drink.
Steve Black, Masters founder and CEO, commented: ‘We support the mission to make sports a more positive influence on the lives of fans and agree that football sponsorship shouldn’t be used as a method to influence drinking behaviours.
‘We agree that it is important to protect the next generation from this type of marketing, just as happened with tobacco sponsorship 20 years ago.’ Former first minister Henry McLeish added: ‘Scottish football should inspire positive relationships, good health and team spirit. The alcohol industry is exploiting our love of sport to promote a health harming product and this needs to be stopped.’
Book your place at the MCA annual symposium next month
The MCA annual symposium on alcohol-related health harm is a key event for health professionals working in the alcohol and health field, taking place on Wednesday 22 November at the Royal College of Physicians, London.
The programme is aimed at clinicians and researchers across disciplines and specialties, highlighting both new research and policy and practical applications. A key theme this year is the complex relationship between alcohol harm and social inequalities and its public health impact. There will also be sessions on the forthcoming UK clinical guidelines on alcohol treatment and on the update of the NICE quality standard on alcohol use disorders. The Max Glatt memorial lecture will be given by Professor Anne Lingford-Hughes. See the full symposium programme and book your place here.
MSPs unite to call for compassion and kindness as See Beyond campaign is debated in Parliament
‘Everyone knows someone’ is the message behind ‘See beyond, see the lives,’ a campaign from Scottish Families, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems, the University of Stirling, and the Salvation Army, that aims to reduce the stigma that surrounds deaths due to alcohol and drugs.
In recognition of the impact on those left behind when someone they love dies because of alcohol and drugs, MSPs used a debate on the campaign in the Scottish Parliament to call for more compassion and support.
Led by Miles Briggs MSP and supported by Monica Lennon MSP, who both lost their fathers to alcohol, a cross-party group of MSPs shared their experiences of alcohol and drug problems, and deaths, among people in their lives and in the areas they represent as MSPs.
Ms Lennon told the Chamber: ‘The barriers are real; stigma is a killer. People are frightened to ask for help.’
Reaching out: Helping services to engage with the most vulnerable drinkers
Alcohol Change UK
18 and 19 October 2023
President’s conference: Inequalities in healthcare – what do we know and what can we do?
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
16 November 2023
MCA annual symposium on alcohol and health
Medical Council on Alcohol
22 November 2023
Royal College of Physicians, London
Meet the members
Every month, we speak to a member of the AHA to find out more about what they do and how their organisation is working to end alcohol harm.
Today we meet Chris Lee, who has been at Change Grow Live since November 2022.
How does your organisation help to reduce alcohol harm?
Change Grow Live deliver alcohol information, advice, brief interventions and treatment across England and Scotland. 38% of our services are in the most deprived communities. With the latest funding from the national drug strategy, more people with alcohol use issues are seeking support from us and other agencies across the country.
What inspires you most in your job?
Having come from 25 years in the public sector, I’m enjoying the change of culture and perspective that being in the third sector brings. Working with passionate people both within and externally to Change Grow Live who are genuinely focused on supporting change within local communities is a key part of this.
What change do you think would make the biggest difference in reducing alcohol harm?
A national alcohol strategy and funding would be ideal, preferably linked to the national drug strategy if we can’t have a substance strategy. Alcohol duty has fallen, relatively making alcohol more affordable; further exploration (and implementation) of a minimum unit price would be a significant step forward. Finally, steady, sufficient long-term funding for prevention and treatment, enabling partners to truly collaborate on addressing both safe consumption and the harm caused to our local communities.