New research probes links between alcohol availability and harm in Scotland

From Alcohol Policy UK

In October the Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health (CRESH), in collaboration with Alcohol Focus Scotland, published Alcohol outlets and health in Scotland [pdf] from their research on the relationship between the number of alcohol outlets, and alcohol-related illness and death in Scottish neighbourhoods. See a blog post by CRESH on the research.

Key findings were:

  • There are large variations in numbers of alcohol outlets within neighbourhoods across Scotland.
  • Across the whole of Scotland, neighbourhoods with higher numbers of alcohol outlets had significantly higher alcohol-related death rates.
  • Across the whole of Scotland, alcohol-related hospitalisation rates were
    significantly higher in neighbourhoods with the most alcohol outlets.

The authors do not make any claims for a causal relationship between the density of alcohol outlets and alcohol-related illness and death, but note that the relationship is strongest for off-sales outlets, saying:

Comparing our results for on-sales and off-sales outlets should be done with caution, but we suggest that the relationships found were stronger for off-sales outlets. This supports claims that off-sales outlets have the greatest potential for alcohol-related harm, due to their cheaper product, large volumes obtainable, accessibility for under-age drinkers, and the absence of control over the final recipient.

In conclusion, the authors suggest that reducing the neighbourhood availability of alcohol outlets, particularly in areas with the highest densities of outlets, could have significant health benefits for the Scottish population.

In 2011 Alcohol Concern published a report stating a link between the density of off-licensed premises and harm from alcohol in underage drinkers. See the IAS paper Licensing legislation and alcohol availability for a round up of licensing law as it relates to outlet density in Scotland, Northern Ireland and England & Wales. See here for a Findings Bank analysis on a US review of limiting licensed premises density to curb alcohol-related harm.

No causal relationship but the co-incidence of it can not be denied can it? ……..

Edited to add more research 11/11/2015

Quarter of Scots hospital trauma cases have alcohol link

Alcohol is linked to a quarter of all trauma cases seen by Scotland’s hospitals, statistics show | Scotsman, UK

3 thoughts on “New research probes links between alcohol availability and harm in Scotland

  1. It seems so simple doesn’t it: the more accessibility, the more harm caused. Simple but complicated, right? xx

    1. I think it is that simple Lori – but acknowledging that is part of the taboo that surrounds alcohol 😀 It’s not an addictive drug so why would having more places that sell it have an impact on harm? *sarc* 😉 xx

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