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Saturday, 29 July 2006 08:08
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Alcohol kills record number of women in Scotland
New figures have revealed that a record number of women died from alcohol abuse in Scotland last year.

Statistics from the Registrar General for Scotland, published yesterday, showed 492 women died of alcohol-related diseases last year, compared with 441 in 2004. The increase was highest among women aged 30 to 60.

Duncan Macniven, the Registrar General for Scotland who compiled the figures, described the increased death toll from alcohol-related diseases - such as alcoholic liver disease, cirrhosis of the liver and mental disorders - as "extremely worrying".

He said that the change was due to a shift in social attitudes and the liberalisation of licensing laws in the 1960s and 70s that led to more people drinking - and to alcohol-related diseases 20 years on.

Gillian Bell, of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: "Scotland's heavy-drinking culture is hitting home. People are drinking more because alcohol is more available and cheaper than ever, but there is a real lack of awareness of the damage drinking to excess causes”.

Ms Bell said women started drinking more as it became more socially acceptable, bars became more woman-friendly and the drinks industry targeted the female market.

"Women need to realise their drinking limits are lower. Their bodies cannot handle it and their livers are more damaged if they drink too much," she said.

Alex Crawford, chief executive of counselling service the RCA Trust, said teenage girls have caught up with boys in drinking alcohol.

"The growth of the 'ladette' culture is well-documented. So it is of little surprise that more women are reporting alcohol problems," he said.

He added that women have a higher risk than men for certain serious medical consequences of alcohol use, including liver, brain and heart damage.


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