The Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy (MESAS) 2nd annual report has been released.
The MESAS provides an update of Scotland’s alcohol strategy, the evaluation plan and the analyses of price, consumption, affordability and alcohol-related harms. Additionally, this report presents findings from the Alcohol Brief Interventions (ABIs) evaluation - ABIs are commonly known as Identification and Brief Advice (IBA) in England.
The report identifies alcohol sales in Scotland decreased by 5% between 2009 and 2011. However consumption in Scotland remains a fifth higher than in England & Wales, largely attributable to higher sales of lower priced spirits (particularly vodka) through the off-trade. Affordability of alcohol has increased by 45% since 1980, largely due to rising disposable incomes.
Mortality rates in Scotland are over two and a half times higher than they were in the early 1980s and remain nearly twice as high as those in England & Wales. However in recent years indicators of alcohol-related morbidity and mortality have begun to show falls, but these need to be interpreted with caution given variations within population groups.
On Alcohol Brief Interventions (ABIs), the report states:
Although NHS annual performance targets for ABI delivery were met consistently, the overall reach of the programme to hazardous and harmful drinkers is likely to be limited. Due to a lack of outcome monitoring data, the impacts of the ABI programme were unable to be assessed, resulting in a need for modelling to measure the impact of ABIs on alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm. Findings from exploratory modelling analysis suggest that potential benefits could exist, particularly in relation to recent reductions in alcohol-related harm. These potential benefits from ABIs are modest, however, when compared to the total burden of alcohol-related harm in Scotland.
In the executive summary conclusion the report states:
Until further work is completed on the wide range of possible explanations, it is not appropriate to draw conclusions as to what factors, or combination of factors, are responsible for the recent improvements identified in alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms in Scotland.
See here for a recent Scotland update on test purchasing as key to Licensing Act and alcohol sales data.