The BMA welcomed the publication of a new action plan to tackle alcohol problems in Scotland.
Dr Peter Terry, chairman of the BMA in Scotland said:
“We welcome the concerted efforts of the Scottish Executive to tackle Scotland?s drinking problem. Alcohol costs our economy around ?1 billion every year, but the human cost is much higher. Around one in 30 of all deaths in Scotland are caused by alcohol related illness.
“It is clear that alcohol misuse doesn?t just have an impact on our health, but it affects society as a whole and we must do what we can to change the culture where Scots believe they can drink to excess without any thought to the consequences for their health.
“Doctors in Scotland welcome the extension of the test purchasing scheme. In a survey last year, 97% of doctors said that tougher enforcement of age restrictions for purchasing alcohol was one of the most important measures that government could take to tackle underage drinking in Scotland, as well as tougher measures for shopkeepers who sell alcohol to children.
“Doctors also want to see an end to the ridiculous pricing of alcohol for off sales. When alcohol is cheaper than bottled water, we have to worry about what message we are sending our children.”
The BMA also welcomed plans to develop a new schools education programme. There has been a 60% increase in reported drinking by 15 year olds and more than a 100% rise in drinking by 13 year olds in recent years.
“Education on the dangers of alcohol misuse should begin at primary school, before children are tempted to drink,” added Dr Terry.
The BMA also called for action to be taken to make Scotland?s roads safer as part of the alcohol action plan with changes to drink driving limits.
Dr Terry said:
“As part of an action plan we would call on the Scottish Executive to insist that the Westminster government introduce legislation to reduce drink drive limits to the European norm (from 80mg to 50mg per 100ml).”