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Sobering costs of alcohol in Scotland

Alcohol misuse is costing Scotland a staggering £2.25bn - more than double previous estimates.

The latest data show the annual cost of alcohol misuse to business, the NHS, social services, police and courts.

This is spread over the NHS (£405m); social work services (£170m); criminal justice and the fire service (£385m); wider economic costs (£820m) and human/social costs (£470m).

And it warns that the new £2.25bn figure may be a significant underestimate.

Among the startling findings, the report shows:

  • Lower productivity at work and days off from hangovers could be costing Scottish business £400m
  • The use of hospital beds to treat drinkers could be costing the NHS more than £150m
  • Alcohol is costing A&E services another £32.3m
  • Police response to alcohol misuse is estimated to be swallowing £288m - with alcohol assumed to be behind 40% of violent crimes
  • Premature deaths caused by alcohol abuse are estimated to be costing Scotland £328m

Minister for Public Health Shona Robison said: "These figures are a reminder that Scotland's alcohol problem is one of the biggest challenges we face, and tackling it must be one of our top priorities.

"That's why, over the next three years, we will invest over £120m to help prevent alcohol misuse, and provide support and treatment to those who need it."

The Scottish Government

What do you think of these figures? Should tackling alcohol problems be a top priority? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"The acceptance of alcohol misuse starts in school, or at any rate with schoolage children. This is the age group we should be targetting. Whether this is children seeing a poor example from parents drinking habits, peer pressure, or strong advertising from an industry keen to hook the next generation, or a combination of all three, the resources to educate and possibly litigate should be aimed in this direction." - Fedor Bunge, Lochaber, Highland