WE ARE DRINKING OURSELVES TO DEATH; MSP hits out as shocking booze figures are revealed.



Byline: Magnus Gardham

HIGH death rates from booze have been revealed in almost every part of Scotland.

In 64 of 73 constituencies, alcohol-related death rates are above the UK average.

Figures issued by the government yesterday show booze is no longer a big killer only in deprived communities.

The breakdown was published in a parliamentary answer to Joe FitzPatrick.

The SNP MSP said: "We must take action now to avoid another generation of Scots dying through drink."

Inner-city Glasgow Shettleston has the highest death rate, at nearly six times the UK average.

Debate The constituency includes Calton, Parkhead, Tollcross Dalmarnock and Bridgeton and is home to a number of homeless hostels.

Frank McAveety, Labour MSP for Shettleston, which will play host to the 2014 Commonwealth Games, said: "If we are to stop people dying before their time, we need to bring together everyone with a stake in this debate, including producers, retailers and police."

Posh Strathkelvin and Bearsden and well-heeled towns including Linthlithgow, Perth and Ayr also face a death toll about 50 per cent higher than the rest of the UK.

Those in Greater Glasgow and Clyde are nearly three times more likely to die from alcohol-related illness than the UK average.

People in Western Isles, Lanarkshire, Tayside, Highland and Ayrshire and Arran are about twice as likely to die as a result of drink.

Only one health boardarea, Borders, had a death rate below the UK average.

All the figures refer to deaths from alcohol-related liver disease.

Figures for 2008 showed that, across the UK, alcohol was responsible for 14.7 out of every 100,000 deaths.

In Scotland, the figure is 27.3 deaths per 100,000.

FitzPatrick, whose Dundee West constituency has an alchol-related death rate nearly three times the UK average, added: "We must take action on alcohol now before more lives are lost."

The figures came as the Scottish government prepare to unveil their Alcohol and HealthBill,including a plan to set a legal minimum price.

Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "It's not good enough to accept Scotland has a problem with alcohol but shy away from the action needed to tackle it."

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