Map shows alcohol risk zones in Scotland

11th June, 2015 by Annie Hayes

Scientists have created an interactive map of Scotland to show how the availability of retailers selling alcohol directly corresponds to the level of alcohol-related harm in the area.

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The interactive map lets users compare the density of the outlets with the death rates linked to alcohol use

The interactive map lets users map alcohol and tobacco retailers across Scotland and compare the density of the outlets with the death rates linked to alcohol use, as well as lung cancer and lung disease.

Experts from Edinburgh University are due to meet with MSPs from Scottish Parliament’s health group to highlight the correlation between overprovision and alcohol-related harm.

Dr Niamh Shortt, a senior lecturer at Edinburgh University’s School of GeoSciences, led the project.

She told Edinburgh News: “Tobacco and alcohol use are two of the leading causes of preventable illness and deaths in Scotland. The licensing boards in Scotland all have a clause about overprovision so for people who are concerned about an excess of outlets in their area, they can use this tool to find out.

“It is not just making alcohol and tobacco less readily available but about changing the social norms and attitudes around both products. Alcohol and tobacco are both seen as everyday items, like bread and milk, as they are positioned next to them in shops.”

Last year, Edinburgh reportedly approved more new applications for licensed premises than anywhere else, despite having the highest density of alcohol outlets in Scotland.

Edinburgh’s Green councillor, Chas Booth, said: “This seems like an extremely useful resource. It is absolutely essential that if we are to reduce the harm that alcohol does to people that we have an accurate picture of where the areas of overprovision are within the city and what impact they are having.”

A study released earlier this year found ambulance crews in Scotland deal with a drunk person every 21 minutes – totalling more than 25,000 incidents in 2014.

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