Scotland

Native Scots face higher risk of alcohol-related death

Man drinking beer
Image caption The study claimed big differences in the drinking habits of different ethnic groups

Native Scots are more than twice as likely to die of alcohol-related causes than Scottish residents born south of the border, according to a new study.

Research by two universities and NHS statisticians also indicated large differences between the drinking habits of different ethnic groups in Scotland.

The findings emerged in a study into the causes of death of ethnic groups living in Scotland from 2000 to 2005.

The research was published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism.

Researchers from Edinburgh and Oxford universities and the NHS Information Services Division analysed causes of death that were directly related to alcohol, including liver disease, accidents and suicide.

It found people from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland living in Scotland were more than twice as likely to die from drink-related causes as the Welsh or English.

Men born in England and Wales were 64% less likely die as a result of alcohol than native Scottish males.

There was no clear difference in alcohol-related deaths between men and women born in Scotland compared to those from Ireland. And there was also little difference between native Scots and people born in India.

'Useful reminder'

The study also showed 72% fewer alcohol-related deaths among Pakistani-born males in Scotland than Scottish-born males.

Prof Raj Bhopal from the University of Edinburgh said: "If we can better understand which ethnic groups have greater susceptibility then we can target alcohol prevention strategies where they are most needed.

"In addition, this study is a useful reminder that alcohol-related deaths are preventable, and that action is required to address this in Scotland."

Alcohol-related deaths have more than doubled in the UK between 1991 and 2006, especially in Scotland.

Mortality from liver cirrhosis, the major cause of alcohol-related death, has also risen more steeply in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK.

There are nearly 1,500 deaths each year in Scotland directly attributed to alcohol.

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