Accessibility Page Navigation
Style sheets must be enabled to view this page as it was intended.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Royal College of Psychiatrists calls for more alcohol treatment services in Scotland: Response to new report ‘Scottish Alcohol Needs Assessment’

Embargoed until 06 August 2009

The Royal College of Psychiatrists welcomes the Scottish Government’s approach to alcohol problems, but remains concerned at the shortage of alcohol treatment services in Scotland.

The report, commissioned by the Scottish Association of Alcohol and Drug Action Teams (SAADAT) and published by the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London, showed that in 2006/07, approximately 17,000 Scots accessed treatment for alcohol problems but, according to the research, this represents only 8.2% of people who could benefit from specialist help.

Dr Michael Farrell, Chair of the Royal College’s Addictions Faculty and a Consultant Addiction Psychiatrist in South London, said “Alcohol misuse has been a neglected issue throughout the United Kingdom for many years. Since the 1970s there have been rising rates of alcohol related harm, but little investment in services. Over the past 2 years, however, Scotland has shown the way within the United Kingdom and in Europe with innovative, evidence-based approaches to prevention and treatment.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists called attention to the influence of low cost alcohol on consumption and the levels of harm caused by alcohol as long ago as 1985. The Scottish Government’s proposals to introduce a minimum price for alcohol have the College’s full support as an action which is an essential part of an effective national response to the challenges we face with alcohol.”

Dr Farrell also welcomed the recent investment in treatment. He said “This report shows why this is necessary. Scottish services have not fallen as far behind as those in England, however, a situation where services can only deal with 8.2% or 1 in 12 people who need help is a serious one. Effective treatment of alcohol problems helps individuals and their families and is highly cost-effective.

I welcome the concerted policy approach taken to tackling alcohol problems in Scotland. In particular I commend the combined approach of control of consumption and investment in evidence based treatment, which are likely to have an impact on the problem. Other Governments would do well to follow a similar approach.”

Dr Peter Rice, Chairman of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland and one of the report’s authors commented. “The focus on alcohol by the Scottish Government, building on the work of previous administrations has been very welcome. The College has drawn attention to the impact of alcohol on many aspects of mental health, including the influence of adult drinking on families and children, the links between alcohol and suicide, and the impact on older people. However, this study shows how much work remains to be done.”

For further information, please contact:
Sarah Nevins
Press & Social Media Officer
Telephone: 020 3701 2543
Claire McLoughlin
Media & Communications Manager 
Telephone: 020 3701 2544
Out of hours contact number: 07860 755896



If you wish to cite this publication it should be as follows: Drummond, C., Deluca, P., Oyefeso, A., Rome, A., Scrafton, S., Rice, P. (2009) Scottish Alcohol Needs Assessment. Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London: London ISBN 978-0-9563298-0-6


Note to editors:

This study was commissioned by the Scottish Association of Alcohol and Drug Action Teams (SAADAT) and funded by the Scottish Government to assess the level of need for specialist alcohol treatment and to chart service capacity in Scotland. It was conducted by Figure 8 Consultancy Services Ltd. in collaboration with the National Addiction Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London."


Make a Donation