Date Published: 2 March 2009

Doctors support tough action to address Scotland's destructive relationship with alcohol

Health News from the United Kingdom (UK).

Welcoming the Scottish Government’s framework for action on alcohol, published today [Monday 2 March 2009], Dr Peter Terry, chairman of the BMA in Scotland, said:

Tough action is needed to tackle alcohol misuse in Scotland. BMA Scotland supports this wide-ranging framework which tackles price and availability, and in particular proposes measures to end the deep discounting of alcohol where it is sold for ridiculously cheap prices.

The health consequences of binge drinking or regularly drinking over and above the recommended daily limits are serious and severe. Alcohol misuse is related to over 60 medical conditions including heart and liver disease, diabetes, strokes and mental health problems. Binge drinking and severe intoxication can cause muscular incoordination, blurred vision, stupor, hypothermia, convulsions, depressed reflexes, respiratory depression, hypotension and coma.

Dr Terry added:

Doctors witness first hand how alcohol misuse destroys lives. The facts are simple - voluntary measures supported by the drinks industry have failed to reduce the damage of alcohol misuse in Scotland. It’s time to step up, legislate and take action.”

Dr Sally Winning, a member of the BMA’s Scottish Council, said:

There has been limited work on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in the UK and consequently, there are currently no reliable data on the incidence of FASD in Scotland. We are therefore very pleased that the Government has committed to arrange a survey of the incidence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in Scotland.”

55% of women in the UK report drinking alcohol during their pregnancy. Heavy drinking during pregnancy can lead to FASD. FASD is a term used to encompass a wide range of physical, mental and behavioural effects that can occur in the children of mothers who consume alcohol during pregnancy. FASD are completely preventable through the elimination of alcohol during pregnancy.

BMA Scotland also welcomed plans to continue to press the UK Government to give serious consideration to a reduction in the drink driving limit and the introduction of new police powers for random breath testing.


Source: British Medical Association.

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