One in 20 Scots killed by alcohol1st July 2009
An NHS study says alcohol may have caused the deaths of twice as many people in Scotland than previously thought.
Using a new method of calculating alcohol-related deaths, they believe in 2003 as many as 2,882 – or one in every 20 deaths – were down to drink.
The researchers used data from the Scottish Health Survey of 2003 for their analysis.
The study and new method of calculating the figures, which is said by researchers to more accurately reflect the harm drinking does, revealed that 25% of deaths in men and 20% of women aged 35-44 were alcohol-related.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the figures showed alcohol was killing one Scot every three hours on average.
"This research shows that alcohol misuse is taking an even higher toll on Scotland's health than previously thought,” she said.
"To have one in 20 Scots dying from alcohol-related causes is a truly shocking statistic. Drinking alcohol is part of Scottish culture, but it's clear that many people are drinking too much and damaging their health in the process.”
She said the government was determined to tackle the issue.
Researchers identified 53 different causes of death, ranging from stomach cancer and strokes to assaults and road deaths, in which alcohol played a part.
Chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, Jack Law, said: "It is particularly concerning to note that over 1,000 Scots under the age of 55 died because of alcohol.”
He said the most effective way to reduce consumption and harm was to increase the price of alcohol.
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