Alcohol-specific deaths have seen a significant decrease in Scotland, just one year after minimum unit pricing was introduced.
The data from the National Records of Scotland shows that there were 1,020 alcohol-specific deaths in 2019. This was a fall of 116 (10%) compared with the previous year, and the lowest figure since 2013; when there were 1,002 such deaths. The total for 2019 was also lower than in every year from 1999 to 2011, inclusive.
This is the first full year of data since minimum unit pricing for alcohol was implemented in Scotland in May 2018.
Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK said: “It is positive news that alcohol-related deaths have decreased in Scotland. This is a huge step forward for public health and demonstrates the effectiveness of measures introduced by the Scottish Government, such as minimum unit pricing.
“By failing to implement minimum unit pricing as part of its plans for public health, England is now falling further behind the rest of the UK in the race to tackle alcohol harm. The UK Government cannot afford to stall any longer and must implement minimum unit pricing now in order to save lives.”
The figures also confirm that Scotland has reached a distressing total of over 10,000 alcohol deaths over the past 10 years.
Justina Murray, CEO of Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs said: “Scotland’s ongoing unhealthy relationship with alcohol means that alcohol harm and alcohol deaths are hidden in plain sight. Significant resource, media interest and political weight are focused on the critical issue of drug-related deaths, but we need to remember that more people in Scotland have died through alcohol over the past 10 years. These lives are equally important and their families also deserve better.”