Sober October brings in its first million of 2019 – is Scotland in dire need of a break from alcohol?

Sober October is back to challenge people to take a month off the booze, however latest government reports show that a month may not be enough to tackle Edinburgh and Scotland’s toxic love affair with alcohol.

From the 1st of October until the 31st of October 64,329 people (and counting) will embark on the yearly challenge of taking a month away from alcohol to raise money for charity.

Beginning in 2013, Sober October was created by Macmillan Cancer Care in partnership with Australian fundraising campaign Dry July to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. This year’s challenge has seen the campaign raise more than £1.2 million in total. The challenge itself says that the benefits of an alcohol free lifestyle will give participants a ‘clearer head’ and a ‘sense of achievement’ for taking part.

Sober October may come at a time when many Edinburgh residents might want to reconsider their drinking habits due to a report published by the Scottish government that found that the capital had the highest number of hazardous drinkers in Scotland. A report by the Edinburgh Evening News found that 33% of Edinburgh residents drank more than 14 units of alcohol a week.

The Scottish Government’s Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol strategy report for 2019 found that 23,494 people in Scotland were admitted to hospital with an alcohol related diagnosis. This is four times higher than it was in the early 1980s.

 

Monitoring and Evaluating Scotlands Alcohol strategy report figures showing that Scotland still sells a high amount of Alcohol per adult compared to the rest of the UK.

The report also stated: ‘in the most deprived areas of Scotland, rates of alcohol-specific deaths were more than seven times higher and alcohol-related hospital stay more than eight times higher when compared with the least deprived areas.’

The report was not all negative for Scotland, as it found that only 23% of alcohol was sold in Scotland for less than 50p. In contrast with 51% in 2015, it is clear to see that the Scottish government is trying to combat Scotland’s difficult love affair with alcohol. Despite this, it will take more than just one Sober October to iron out the issues highlighted in the Scottish governments latest report.

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