The Social Harms

The burden of social harm from drinking alcohol is substantial. Alcohol is recognised as a contributory factor in a wide range of social problems including anti-social behaviour, crime, violence, domestic violence, strained relationships, family breakdown, child abuse and child neglect.

  • Alcohol or drugs, or a combination of both, was a factor in 37% of those accused of homicide in Scotland in 2017-18
  • Six in ten young offenders were drunk at the time of their offence
  • 58% of people known to mental health services in Scotland who died by suicide had a history of alcohol misuse
  • Up to 51,000 Scottish children are estimated to live with a parent whose drinking is problematic
  • 17% of 15-year-olds reported drinking in the last week, of which 57% reported getting drunk
  • A quarter of children on the Child Protection Register are estimated to be there due to parental alcohol or drug misuse
  • One in three divorces cite excessive drinking by a partner as a contributory factor
  • Emergency departments in Scotland deal with over 70 alcohol-related assaults every day.

Cost to Scotland of alcohol misuse

£0 billion per year

cost to the Scottish Government = £900 for every person

(figures from )

£0 million per year
in reduced output and productivity, including work days lost due to alcohol- related absenteeism
£0 million per year

in NHS services

£0 million per year

in social work services

£0 million per year

in criminal justice and emergency services

£0 million per year

in human costs (e.g. victims of alcohol-related crime in terms of physical and emotional costs)