Medical professions welcome Alcohol Minimum Unit Pricing

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Issued on behalf of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP)

The Scottish medical professions are celebrating the introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP) for all alcohol sold in Scotland from today, six years after the legislation was passed in the Scottish Parliament. Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), which represents the Medical Royal Colleges in Scotland, has campaigned for eleven years for minimum pricing, when we first called for action to introduce MUP.

Alcohol misuse results in around 24 deaths and 700 hospital admissions every week in Scotland.

Dr Peter Rice, Chair of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) said:

“At last MUP can be implemented in Scotland. We are proud and delighted. It’s been a long time coming. Harmful and hazardous drinkers are mainly reliant on cheap vodka and white cider, and these are the products that will now cost significantly more with MUP.

Doctors, nurses and other health professionals experience first-hand the consequences of having cheap alcohol widely available, with the harms affecting the poorest and most vulnerable communities in Scotland. We are all hoping that we will soon start seeing fewer patients in our surgeries and hospital wards suffering from alcohol-related harms, and we look forward to that.

Dr Eric Carlin, Director of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), said:

“Today, we salute the determination of the Scottish Government for having persevered to introduce MUP as a life-saving measure, in the face of legal challenges by global alcohol interests, fronted by the Scotch Whisky Association.

“All the evidence suggests that the implementation of MUP will reduce harmful consumption of alcohol, which devastates the lives of many, especially in our poorest communities, and kills at least 24 people every week. In addition, SHAAP and our partners will continue to press the Scottish and UK Governments to take other actions to reduce alcohol-related harms, including restricting marketing of alcohol, especially to young people, as well as to improve services and support for people with alcohol problems, their families and friends.”

Notes: 
  1. Representatives from SHAAP and a number of frontline clinicians are available for comment and interview before, on and after Tuesday 1 May – to arrange, please contact 0131 247 3667, 0131 247 3665 and 0750 508 1784 or  shaap.director@rcpe.ac.uk
  2. Based at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) provides the authoritative medical and clinical voice on the need to reduce the impact of alcohol related harm on the health and wellbeing of people in Scotland and the evidence-based approaches to achieve this.
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