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Findings Series 42 - Alcohol-related harm in Glasgow

Date: May 2014
Category: Briefing Paper
Author: Deborah Shipton

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This paper explores the increasing burden of alcohol related deaths in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, from a local, national and international context.

Scotland has the second highest working age mortality in Western Europe and among the highest liver cirrhosis. However, contrary to common perceptions, Scotland’s poor relative health is a new phenomenon; around the 1950s health improvements in Scotland were outpaced by that of its European neighbours.

A rapid rise in alcohol-related deaths in the 1990s left Glasgow with a historically high burden of alcohol-related deaths, although there was a modest, but welcomed, fall in the later 2000s. 

Glasgow’s poor health is compounded by high levels of material deprivation in the city; the spike in alcohol-related deaths in the 1990s resulted in a significant increase in inequalities which has not been reduced by the recent falls in alcohol-related deaths. 

Analysis of alcohol-related deaths by birth cohort identified worrying disproportionate increase in alcohol-related deaths in young working-age females in Glasgow and other UK cities. 

There are two appendices that accompany this briefing paper:

Appendix 1: A summary of policy and practice discussions held in October 2013

Appendix 2: Alcohol-related deaths by Glasgow ward