Alcohol abuse is a major problem in Scotland, with over 42,000 people being admitted to hospital between 2007 and 2008 for alcohol related problems, and nearly half of prisoners claiming they were drunk at the time of committing their offence.
Dr Harry Burns, Scotland’s chief medical officer said: “The health profession is seeing the fall-out of alcohol misuse every year in hundreds of thousands of GP consultations, thousands of hospital admissions and increased rates of chronic illness and deaths.”
The World Health Organization urged Scotland to become the first country to impose a minimum price on alcohol to help reduce excessive drinking.
Dr Peter Anderson, a consultant to the World Health Organisation said at the conference: “Outside of governments which own retail stores for the sale of alcohol, no jurisdiction has set a minimum price of alcohol. Internationally, Scotland is seen as a public health leader.
“You had the courage to introduce smoke free pubs; let us hope that you have the same courage to introduce a minimum price for alcohol.”