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13 September 2012

Stevenson Slams Cost to Public Purse of Alcohol Abuse

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has voiced his concern over new figures which indicate total estimated cost of alcohol-related harm in the Aberdeenshire Council area stands at £64.31 million or £262 per person for the period 2010-11.

For the first time ever, Alcohol Focus Scotland has produced a regional breakdown showing costs for each local authority area.  The research was conducted using the same methods as a Scottish Government study from 2010 which reported the overall cost of alcohol misuse across Scotland was £3.6 billion a year.

Highlighting the figures Mr Stevenson said:

“This is a very serious problem for our nation and our communities.  The drastic real terms reduction in the cost of off sales alcohol is holding many people in our communities back.

“Discount and loss leading supermarket promotions, which aim to make alcohol prices so cheap, are costing our country dear in terms of NHS, Police and lost production costs.  The Scottish Government’s minimum pricing policy will have a positive impact but it will not on its own fix the entire issue.

“Reverting to traditional behaviours of social drinking in the local pub with friends, neighbours and colleagues offers a more sustainable prospect.  Supporting your local pub is about community, peer networks and local business creating employment.  This contrasts with discount off sales of vodka or white cider consumed at home, which is about creating and maintaining alcohol dependency in our people.

“We need to be alive to the scale of the threat and act now to modify our perceptions of what is, and what is no longer, acceptable in our relationships with alcohol.

“The continuing extent of Scotland's alcohol misuse problem costs Scotland £3.6 billion per year, this is totally unsustainable in both human and economic terms.”

Stewart Stevenson
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