SHAAP has prepared a briefing in advance of the Scottish Government debates on COVID-19, happening on June 2 (Next Steps: NHS and the Economy) and June 9 (Next Steps: Communities) 2020. The briefing covers the impact of COVID-19 on alcohol treatment and support for recovery, as well as alcohol consumption more generally, and includes recommendations for achieving long-term public health goals as we look towards a 'new normal' post-lockdown.

SHAAP has made the following four recommendations to ensure that Scotland does not lose sight of its commitment to continue reducing harm from alcohol, despite the challenges of COVID-19:

  • The Scottish Government should meet its commitments as laid out in the 2018 Alcohol Framework, and make alcohol a public health priority going forward. Actions such as the Scottish Government consultation on alcohol marketing - planned for this year - should continue to go ahead.
  • Treatment services and support for recovery must be improved in the wake of COVID-19. In order to do this, we need better collaboration, co-ordination and integration between NHS Scotland, local ADPs and those with lived experience in the recovery community.
  • The alcohol industry should be strongly encouraged to contribute to reducing alcohol harms by sharing their knowledge of sales volumes and patterns, both during the lockdown and beyond.
  • Innovative activities and partnerships such as that between SHAAP and Scottish Women's Football contribute to a culture change around alcohol in Scotland, as well as to preventing and reducing alcohol harms. The Scottish Government should find ways to support these kinds of activities going forward, to prevent big business from filling the gap and manipulating young people's awareness and views of alcohol brands.