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Alcohol-related deaths in Scotland on the rise

According to statistics, there is a significant rise in the number of deaths linked with alcohol in several health board areas in Scotland.//

In 2005, the numbers were 177 in Argyll and Clyde, 76 in Fife and 184 in Lanarkshire. The Scottish Executive figures reveal that there is a 20% increase in alcohol-related deaths since 1999. Drug-related deaths have also been on the rise with heroin-related deaths rising by 25%.

There were 1,127 alcohol-related deaths in 1998 across Scotland which rose to 1,513 by 2005. This was revealed in a parliamentary answer to the Scottish National Party.

The figure rose from 136 to 184 over the same period in the Lanark shire area, while there was a rise from 146 to 177 in Clyde. The numbers increased from 319 to 376 in Greater Glasgow and from 130 to 221 in the NHS Lothian area. There were 84 deaths involving heroin or morphine in Scotland in 1996. This figure rose to 225 in 2004. The number of amphetamine-related deaths rose from 5 in 1996 to 10 in 2004.

People with drink and drugs problems required more effective help and support, said SNP health spokeswoman Shona Robison. She said: "It does concern me because it comes on the back of recent figures which showed a massive increase in the number of patients discharged from hospitals with alcohol-related conditions. "It all adds up to show we still have a long way to go in Scotland to tackle our rather problematic relationship with alcohol."

Dr Nanette Milne, the Scottish Conservatives health spokeswoman, said: "Every six hours someone in Scotland dies from alcohol abuse. "These figures confirm the increasingly serious problem of excessive alcohol consumption. The number of alcohol-related deaths in Scotland has essentially trebled in just over 20 years. This is alarming. "Education is clearly required and we have to take action to curb underage drinking, because this is the root of the issue." “We still have a long wa y to go in Scotland to tackle our rather problematic relationship with alcohol,” said Robison.

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