Skip to main content

Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy

Final Annual Report

Between 2006 and 2010 a number of reports and journal papers revealed the scale of alcohol-related harm to individuals, families, communities and the economy in Scotland. This included:

• The growing chronic liver disease and cirrhosis mortality rates in Scotland at a time when rates in most of Western Europe were falling.

• One in 20 deaths in Scotland were calculated to be attributable to alcohol.

• 50% of prisoners in Scotland reported being drunk at the time of their offence, rising to 77% for young offenders.

• Where the status was known, 69% of those accused of homicides in Scotland were drunk at the time of their offence6 and 70% of assaults requiring treatment at A&E were thought to involve alcohol.

• 65,000 children were estimated to potentially be affected by parental alcohol misuse.

• The cost of alcohol misuse to the Scottish economy was estimated at around £3.56 billion per year, equivalent to £900 per adult.

In response, in 2009 the Scottish Government published a new ‘Framework for Action’ (the Framework) for reducing alcohol-related harm. The Framework set out important new proposals and built on policies already in place, including the 2005 Licensing Act that had yet to be implemented. The framework contained proposals that required further legislative change and these received parliamentary approval through the Alcohol Act and the Minimum Pricing Act. The term ‘alcohol strategy’ is therefore used in this report to refer to these four complementary strands (the Framework and associated actions, the Licensing Act, the Alcohol Act and Minimum Pricing Act) but it is recognised that the alcohol strategy continues to evolve.i NHS Health Scotland, in partnership with NHS National Services Scotland Information Services Division (NSS ISD), was tasked with the evaluation of this new strategy.

This report presents a final overview of findings from the current phase of the Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy (MESAS) programme. It will
describe the evaluation approach (Chapter 1); trends in the key outcomes of the strategy, namely alcohol consumption and related harms (Chapter 2); key findings from our assessment of the impact of the main components of the alcohol strategy (Chapter 3); and the likely contribution of external factors thought to influence the key outcomes (Chapter 4). Chapter 5 presents a synthesis of the key findings and conclusions from the MESAS programme, which have informed a set of recommendations for future policy and research (Chapter 6).