Booze culture: 40% of Lothian adults are “problem drinkers”


Those who sell alcohol to under-18s should “not be tolerated” says MSP

TWO in five people in Lothian are drinking

“hazardous’ amounts of alcohol according to disturbing new figures.

Patients were grilled about their drinking habits after turning up at hospitals and GPs surgeries, and 40% were judged to have a problem with alcohol.

Around 30,000 were questioned and those deemed at risk were warned to cut back or give up.

The figures were revealed by NHS Lothian’s alcohol brief intervention (ABI) scheme.

Estimates show that the Lothians has a worse drinking problem than anywhere else in the country, with the 40% affected exceeding recommended limits on a weekly basis.

Eleanor McWhirter, ABI lead for NHS Lothian, said: “We are committed to reducing the number of people in the Lothians who drink more than the recommended amount.

“The damage to people’s lives by alcohol use is evident in the increasing numbers being referred for treatment.

“As charge nurse in the Ritson Detoxification Clinic based at the Royal Edinburgh (psychiatric] hospital, I saw the damage alcohol can do. ABIs provide a structured format to help raise awareness of the health risks of drinking too much and allow us to encourage and support individuals to reduce their alcohol intake.”


The scheme is credited with reducing alcohol consumption in those who receive an ABI by 40%.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “Alcohol brief interventions are part of our wider approach to tackling alcohol which is backed up by record investment of almost 160 million since 2008.

“This is helping to fund early intervention services so we can nip hazardous or harmful drinking in the bud before serious health problems, or other problems, develop.”