New statistics have shown that the level of alcohol- related deaths in the Western Isles are at the highest in decades.
Alasdair Allan, MSP for the Western Isles, has voiced his concerns at the newly released figures published by the National Records of Scotland which show that 15 people in the Western Isles died of alcohol-related deaths last year.
This is nearly twice as many as the previous year. The rate of 5.5 alcohol deaths per 10,000 people in the Western Isles is the worst in Scotland, with the national average being two and the next worst Health Board area (Glasgow and Greater Clyde) having two-point-five deaths per 10,000 people.
Alasdair Allan said: “These figures are a sad reminder of the dangers of excessive drinking, and why it is so important for us to face up to the realities of Scotland’s drinking culture.
“I am certainly not against people enjoying a drink, and would support the responsible enjoyment of alcohol. However, statistics like this should be a wake up call for us all. The human cost of alcohol abuse here in the Isles, and across Scotland, is immense. Each alcohol-related death represents a tragedy for that individual’s family and a loss to society that could have been avoided.
“All this makes me more convinced than ever that the Scottish Government is doing the right thing by pursuing measures to clamp down on the availability of ultra-cheap forms of alcohol, despite the efforts being made through the courts from some quarters to maintain the availability of some forms of alcohol at prices that compete with bottled water.
“We should continue to offer support to families and communities, promote positive choices and improve treatment and support services through Scotland’s Alcohol Framework.”