It is becoming increasingly evident that as a nation our relationship with alcohol has become unbalanced.
Alcohol sales data suggests that consumption has increased by 11 per cent since 1994, with enough alcohol being sold for every adult in Scotland to exceed weekly recommended limits for men each and every week since at least 2000.
In 2010, 23 per cent more alcohol was sold per adult in Scotland than in England and Wales, the widest gap to date.
The impact of this excessive consumption is estimated to cost Scots £3.6 billion each year, that's equivalent to an incredible £900 for each and every adult in Scotland.
Hospital discharges have quadrupled since the early 1980s and deaths directly related to alcohol misuse doubled.
The impact on crime and anti-social behaviour is equally stark, with statistics showing that 50 per cent of prisoners (including 77 per cent of young offenders) were drunk at the time of their offence.
What is clear is that bold action is required to help drive a long-term change in cultural attitudes towards alcohol.
Alcohol Framework for Action
The Alcohol Framework for Action, published March 2009, set out a strategic approach to tackling alcohol misuse in Scotland.
It contains a wide package of measures including enhancing education and diversionary activity, and developing partnership work with the alcohol industry. The overall aim is to reduce alcohol consumption and harm across the count
The Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012 was passed in June 2012 and will pave the way for the introduction of a preferred minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol.
This landmark policy is supported by many children’s charities and is a significant step forward in the Scottish Government’s efforts to tackle Scotland’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol.