NHS Health Scotland, the state-funded body responsible for trying to promote healthy living in Scotland, has produced an alarming report about the scale of Scotland's drinking problem. Since 1994 sales of pure alcohol per adult per year have increased by 11% to the equivalent of 11.9 litres per person, 21% more than levels in England and Wales and enough, on average, for every adult to exceed the sensible drinking guidelines every week of the year. One in 20 deaths in Scotland is attributable to the effects of alcohol and death rates are six times higher in the most deprived communities than in the most affluent ones. Wine sales have doubled since 1994 and purchases from supermarkets and off licences have increased by 53%. The report links the rise in alcohol consumption to falling prices, relative to income, and the increased public acceptability of drinking.
Christie, Bryan - Increase in alcohol sales in Scotland is driven by low prices and rising affluence British Medical Journal BMJ 2011; 342:d1852