Since 2009, the amount of alcohol consumed in Scotland has fallen. The reduction equates to approximately 38 million pints of bear each year and a report by NHS Health Scotland has attributed this to the recession and the fact that the Scottish Government has banned multi-buy promotions on alcohol.

This is good news for the Government, especially that alcohol related admissions and the number of deaths from alcohol has fallen as well. However, it is important to put these numbers into perspective – when compared with England and Wales, the number of alcohol sales in Scotland is still higher. In fact, they are 17 per cent higher.

Alcohol Abuse in Scotland

Even though alcohol sales are higher in Scotland than they are in England and Wales, the number has been dropping since 2009. They are down by 9 per cent, which may have a lot to do with the minimum pricing in Scotland. However, with sales dropping in England and Wales too, many experts believe that a major contributing factor is alcohol affordability. The global economic downturn has led to a decrease in the number of people buying alcohol.

Scotland’s numbers are still very high and the drinking culture is something that the Scottish Government is taking seriously. The minimum pricing strategy was just the beginning and, with approximately 700 Scottish people being admitted to hospitals across the country with alcohol related injuries or illnesses every week, it is clear that more needs to be done.

Underage Drinking in Scotland

The drinking culture in Scotland begins at a relatively young age. A 2003 publication by the Scottish Government found that, back then, more than half of those questioned admitted that they had taken a drink of alcohol by age 13. By 15, that figure had risen to almost 84 per cent. Those young people were also drinking regularly and were sourcing it themselves from local grocers or corner stores.

Are Underage Drinkers More Likely to Become Alcoholics?

Research has shown that the younger a person starts drinking alcohol, the greater their chances of becoming addicted to alcohol in later life. Those who begin drinking before the age of 15 are even more susceptible to alcoholism. Thankfully, the number of children who have tried alcohol is decreasing but it is still a problem that needs to be tackled as it could mean less adults with a dependence on alcohol in the future.

Signs of Underage Drinking

Children who drink alcohol at a young age could be at risk of developing an addiction, which is why parents need to be careful. There are a number of telltale signs that your child is drinking, including:

  • side effects including headaches, weight loss and sleeplessness
  • vomiting and nausea
  • depression
  • secretiveness
  • stress or anxiety
  • being abusive or violent.

Help for Underage Drinkers

When underage drinking becomes a problem, it is essential that it is dealt with – and fast. If you are a parent who suspects that your child is drinking then there are places you can go for help. Here at Addiction Helper, our trained counsellors will offer support and advice for those dealing with addiction issues. We can advise on the best treatment options available and can arrange for interventions to help your child admit they have a problem. Inform yourself about children and students with addictions in our student addiction guide. Call us today on 0800 024 1499.

Sources: BBC

  1. Scotland
  2. Drink Aware
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