Home > Monitoring and evaluating Scotland’s alcohol strategy. Final annual report.

Beeston, C and McAdams, R and Craig, N and Gordon, R and Graham, L and MacPherson, M and McAuley, A (2016) Monitoring and evaluating Scotland’s alcohol strategy. Final annual report. Edinburgh: NHS Health Scotland.

PDF (Monitoring and evaluating Scotland’s alcohol strategy. Final report.)
PDF (Summary of Monitoring and evaluating Scotland’s alcohol strategy by Drug and Alcohol Findings) - Supplemental Material

After a period of rapidly increasing rates of alcohol-related harm in Scotland and with alcohol-related harm in Scotland at historically high levels, a comprehensive strategic approach to alcohol was put in place from 2008/2009. The strategy was evidence-based and contained the main components advocated by the World Health Organisation (WHO). It aimed to reduce alcohol consumption and related harm through a wide range of interventions implemented through new policy and legislation. This evaluation was put in place to assess the success or otherwise of the strategy.


Monitoring trends in alcohol consumption shows that population consumption has declined in recent years, although that decline may now be flattening. A downward trend in self-reported consumption appears to be driven by declining consumption and increased abstention in young adults, and decreased consumption amongst the heaviest drinkers, especially men.


The most reliable and robust indicators of alcohol related harm are alcohol-related mortality and hospitalisation rates. In general, both of these have been declining in recent years. The decline in the alcohol-related mortality rate started from peaks in 2003 for men and in 2006 for women. Rates have not declined since 2012 for either gender. Alcohol-related hospitalisations began to decline from 2008/09 for both genders. The increase and subsequent decline in alcohol-related mortality and hospitalisations was driven in particular by men and those living in the most deprived areas. Within the context of declining overall crime, there was little evidence of a consistent trend across the indicators of alcohol related crime. Within the context of declines in the proportion of young people drinking, adverse consequences, from their own alcohol consumption, reported by 13 and 15 year olds have been declining, and are now at the lowest recorded level. Hospitalisation rates for those aged under 15 years have also declined by approximately 80% since their peak in 1995/96.

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