Alcohol problems are a major concern for public health in Scotland. Excessive consumption of alcohol can have harmful and wide-reaching consequences for individuals, their family and friends as well as communities and the economy. Short-term problems such as intoxication can lead to risk of injury and is associated with violence and social disorder. Over the longer term, excessive consumption can cause irreversible damage to parts of the body such as the liver and brain. Alcohol can also lead to mental health problems, and can be a contributory factor in many other diseases including cancer, stroke and heart disease. Wider social problems include family disruption, absenteeism from work and financial difficulties.
The Health Improvement Team at ISD aims to enhance development, coordination and dissemination of alcohol information in Scotland. The team publishes information from ISD's own data sources and provides links to other relevant sources. Its remit used to include management of the Alcohol Information Scotland website but information from this site is now held at the Scottish Public Health Observatory (ScotPHO) website and the Alcohol Information Scotland website has been decommissioned. ScotPHO is a collaboration led by the Health Improvement Team at ISD Scotland and the observatory team at NHS Health Scotland, and includes the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, National Records of Scotland and Health Protection Scotland. ScotPHO aims to take a lead in determining Scotland's future public health information needs. In 2012 ScotPHO launched a new, modern version of their website and has worked hard to present data in an accessible way. This makes ScotPHO an ideal place to host the Alcohol information.
The Alcohol section on the ScotPHO website can be found here: http://www.scotpho.org.uk/behaviour/alcohol/introduction
The ScotPHO site also contains the information previously included in the biennial Alcohol Statistics Scotland publication. This bulletin was last published in 2011 and the different sections are now updated individually with the latest data being made available on the website. Topics in the ScotPHO Alcohol Data section include:
- Availability, affordability and consumption - including licensing information and survey results regarding alcohol sales and consumption
- Social harm as a result of excessive alcohol consumption - main topics include alcohol-related road traffic offences and accidents, and other alcohol-related offending
- Health Harm - this includes information on hospital stays and deaths resulting from excessive alcohol use and primary care consultations relating to alcohol misuse
- Treatment - this includes information on access to services and delivery of initial (brief) interventions (ABIs) where higher than recommended alcohol consumption is suspected
All ISD publications relating to Alcohol and Drugs from 2010 onwards can be found at:
http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Drugs-and-Alcohol-Misuse/Publications/ whereas more historic publications can be found at http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Drugs-and-Alcohol-Misuse/Alcohol/Historic-Publications/