BBC Scotland Drinks Correspondent (right) gets the facts
They headline with:
‘Sales of alcohol fall to the lowest level since records began’
but they have their but ready for immediate insertion in case you might be thinking something good has happened in Scotland:
‘BUT has minimum pricing made the difference?’
Without further ado and certainly with no further information on the official statistics release, we’re straight off to a centre for the care of alcoholics where Lisa Summers will interview two old guys at length as the camera lingers compassionately (sic) on their tragic faces and one tells us:
‘Raising the price of alcohol isn’t going to stop an alcoholic from having a drink. He’s either gonna steal the money or steal the bottle!’
See, never mind the improving trends in consumption. Never mind the fact that the minimum pricing scheme was designed to reduce all problem drinking and not really expected to solve alcoholism. We’re telling you that Scotland is still a place of drunks and that you needn’t get above yourselves. And, never mind that alcohol-related stays in hospital continue to fall as they have done since the early days of this ‘SNP Government’.
And, never mind that waiting time targets for alcohol treatment by NHS Scotland have been smashed:
The target is for 90% of people referred with a drug or alcohol problem to wait no longer than three weeks for treatment. 6 609 people sought alcohol treatment and 4 638 sought drug treatment. Despite these numbers, 94.9% seeking alcohol treatment and 93.2% seeking drug treatment waited three weeks or less for treatment.
The report is up the usual standard from Reporting Scotland – E minus for informativeness, A plus for cringe factor.