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Call for minimum pricing on alcohol

23rd June 2009

A forum held in Edinburgh has suggested that Scotland should "lead the world" in setting a minimum price for alcohol.

glassoflager

The summit was composed of around 100 representatives from around the world from different organisations, including alcohol manufacturers, politicians and charities.

The Scottish Government has released figures which show 50 millions litres of pure alcohol were sold in Scotland in 2007.

In 2007-08 there were 42,430 discharges from hospital which were connected with alcohol. Nearly half (49%) of all prisoners said in 2008 that they had been drinking when they committed their offence.

Dr Harry Burns, Scotland's chief medical officer, who was at the summit, said the country was seeing the results of alcohol abuse "in thousands of GP consultations, thousands of hospital admissions and increased rates of chronic illness and deaths."

Dr Peter Anderson, a consultant to the World Health Organisation, said: "Outside of governments which own retail stores for the sale of alcohol, no jurisdiction has set a minimum price of alcohol. Internationally, Scotland is seen as a public health leader."

"You had the courage to introduce smoke free pubs; let us hope that you have the same courage to introduce a minimum price for alcohol."

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