Alcohol use by the young in Scotland

We’ve commented before about the worrying outcomes that are attributable to alcohol misuse in Scotland, and now I’ve had a chance to glance at a document from NHS Scotland, Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy.

Young Adults

young adult drinking scotland

One thing that is immediately clear is that more young adults in Scotland appear to be drinking above recommended levels than in England and Wales.

Indeed they’re more likely to be drinking above weekly recommended levels than any other age group in society.

The report points out that when it comes to those reporting drinking at least twice the daily guidelines then:

31% of adults aged 16-24 years consumed at least twice the daily guideline in Scotland in 2010, compared with 24% in England. However, for adults aged 55-64 years (Scotland=15%, England=15%), 65-74 years (Scotland=7%, England=6%) and 75+ years (Scotland=2%, England=3%) the proportions were very similar between countries.


The report shows that the long term trend for alcohol use by young people in Scotland has been downward, following similar paths as that in England.  However, in 2010 there was an increase in those saying they had drunk alcohol in the last week.  And this meant that for the first time since 2002 more young Scots were drinking than English teenagers.scots vs english teens drinking

Update: I’ve just remembered that I’d done this presentation on some relatively recent data on school pupil’s drinking in Scotland that may prove useful in this context too.

Alcohol Brief Interventions

The report offers an overview of the roll out of Alcohol Brief Interventions (ABI) across Scotland and mentions that while the initial concept was to deliver these interventions in medical settings local decisions have seen them also applied in other settings, including educational settings.

This makes sense to me in that one of the things that was discussed at the recent EMCDDA round table on Brief Interventions was how important it might be to find settings where your target audience was more likely to be engaged, and that primary care settings were not great for reaching teenagers.

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