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BMA Scotland pushes for minimum alcohol pricing

The BMA is pushing for the introduction of a minimum price for alcohol unit following a survey that showed six in ten people considered it the most harmful drug in Scotland.

The 2013 Scottish Social Attitudes survey, released last week, found that 41% of the 1,497 respondents supported the implementation of the minimum unit price, which is designed to prevent the selling of cheap alcohol.

This compared with the 35% of respondents who opposed it.

Brian Keighley, the chair of BMA Scottish Council, said the survey reflects a growing tendency towards alcohol being considered as ‘a major cause of problems in our society’.

He added: ‘The increasing costs to the health service of treating the harm associated with alcohol misuses could cripple the NHS with a financial burden that is no longer sustainable especially in the current financial climate.’

The Scottish Government passed the  Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012 in June 2012, but it has not yet been implemented.

NHS Scotland estimates the cost to fix the problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption at around £3.56bn, which is around £900 per adult in Scotland.