29 August 2023 /Food and Drink/ –I n 2022, there were 1,245 alcohol-specific deaths in Scotland, compared to 1,051 drug-related deaths. This is the first time that alcohol-related deaths have been higher than drug-related deaths in Scotland.
There are a number of factors that may have contributed to this trend. One factor is that the Scottish Government has taken a number of steps to reduce drug-related deaths in recent years, such as introducing new treatment services and increasing the availability of naloxone, a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose. These measures have been successful in reducing the number of drug-related deaths, but they have not had the same impact on alcohol-related deaths.
Another factor is that the price of alcohol has been relatively low in Scotland in recent years. This has made it more affordable for people to drink heavily, and has contributed to the problem of alcohol abuse.
Finally, there is a cultural acceptance of alcohol in Scotland. Drinking is seen as a normal part of social life, and this can make it difficult for people who are struggling with alcohol abuse to seek help.
The Scottish Government is aware of the problem of alcohol-related deaths, and is taking steps to address it. These measures include increasing the price of alcohol, introducing new public awareness campaigns, and improving access to treatment services. It is hoped that these measures will help to reduce the number of alcohol-related deaths in Scotland.
In addition to the factors mentioned above, there are a few other things that may be contributing to the increase in alcohol-related deaths in Scotland. These include:
- The aging population. As people get older, they are more likely to develop alcohol-related health problems.
- The rise of chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. These diseases can make people more vulnerable to the harmful effects of alcohol.
- The increasing availability of high-strength alcohol. This makes it easier for people to drink to excess.
It is important to note that the increase in alcohol-related deaths is a complex issue, and there is no single cause. The factors mentioned above are just some of the things that may be contributing to the problem.
There are a few reasons why there are more alcohol-related deaths than illegal drug-related deaths.
- Alcohol is more widely available and affordable than illegal drugs. Alcohol is legal and can be purchased in most stores and restaurants. Illegal drugs, on the other hand, are often sold through illegal channels and can be more expensive. This makes alcohol more accessible to people who are struggling with addiction.
- Alcohol is more addictive than many illegal drugs. Alcohol can be addictive even in small amounts. This means that people who start drinking are more likely to develop an addiction than people who start using illegal drugs.
- Alcohol poisoning is more common than overdose from illegal drugs. Alcohol poisoning occurs when someone drinks too much alcohol and their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) becomes dangerously high. This can lead to a coma or death. Overdose from illegal drugs can also be fatal, but it is less common than alcohol poisoning.
- Alcohol is often used in combination with other drugs, which can increase the risk of death. People who are addicted to alcohol are more likely to use other drugs, such as opioids. This can increase the risk of overdose and death.
Here are some statistics on alcohol-related deaths and illegal drug-related deaths:
- In the United States, there were an estimated 79,070 alcohol-related deaths in 2020. This is more than the number of deaths from all illegal drugs combined (67,537).
- In Scotland, there were 1,245 alcohol-specific deaths in 2022, compared to 1,051 drug-related deaths. This is the first time that alcohol-related deaths have been higher than drug-related deaths in Scotland.
It is important to note that these statistics only include deaths that are directly caused by alcohol or drugs. They do not include deaths that are indirectly caused, such as deaths from accidents or violence that are related to alcohol or drug use.
The good news is that there are things that can be done to reduce the number of alcohol-related deaths. These include:
- Increasing the price of alcohol
- Reducing the availability of alcohol
- Educating people about the risks of alcohol abuse
- Providing treatment for alcohol addiction
By taking these steps, we can help to save lives and reduce the harm caused by alcohol.