SHAAP/SARN Alcohol Occasional 2017-2018 Series

SHAAP/SARN ‘Alcohol Occasionals’ 2017-2018

Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) and the Scottish Alcohol Research Network (SARN) are pleased to organise the lunchtime ‘Alcohol Occasional’ seminars. These showcase innovative research on alcohol use and provide the chance for researchers, practitioners and policy makers and members of the public to hear and discuss alcohol related topics, over lunch in the historic Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh at 9 Queen Street, Edinburgh.

2017/18 programme: The talks will focus specifically on Alcohol and Social Justice in the next session. The programme and dates are now confirmed:

These events are popular and places are limited. To register via EventBrite, click on the title of the event/s (above) that you wish to attend.

Alcohol Occasional: Alcohol and Social Justice – Call for Proposals

Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) and the Scottish Alcohol Research Network (SARN) are proud to support the free lunchtime ‘Alcohol Occasional’ seminars which showcase new and innovative research on alcohol use. All of the seminars are run in conjunction with and held at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. These events provide the chance for researchers, practitioners and policy makers and members of the public to hear about alcohol-related topics and discuss and debate implications for policy and practice. After each seminar, SHAAP and SARN publish a summary of the discussions so that they are shared with a wide audience.

We are now seeking proposals to deliver seminar presentations during 2017/2018, with a focus specifically on Alcohol and Social Justice. We are interested to hear from researchers from any discipline who wish to share their findings with an audience made up of fellow researchers, practitioners, policy makers and the general public. We would particularly welcome presentations from new and early career researchers.

The dates for the 2017/2018 seminars are (all Mondays): 6th November 2017; 4th December; 29th January 2018; 12th March; and 23rd April 2018.

If you are interested in presenting your research, please get in touch with Felicity Garvie at  with a short proposal (max. 300 words) and an indication of your availability. Closing date for submissions: Monday 28th August 2017.

Please feel free to circulate this email to anyone who you think might be interested.

Alcohol Brief Interventions In Primary Care

Two new reports emphasise important role of primary care in reducing alcohol-related harms in Scotland. 

The reports were launched at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh on 22 June 2017 and the research was carried out by researchers from the University of Edinburgh, the Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling and the University of Newcastle. They highlight the important role that GPs have in raising the issue of alcohol use in GP consultations.

You can access the full reports by clicking on the titles below:

‘Practice and attitudes of General Practitioners in the delivery of Alcohol Brief Interventions in Scotland’

‘Financial incentives for Alcohol Brief Interventions in Primary Care in Scotland’ 

The reports precede the imminent publication of the Scottish Government’s ‘refresh’ of its 2009 strategy, Changing Scotland’s Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action. Scotland continues to have the highest level of alcohol consumption and harm in the UK. One million Scots drink above the recommended guidelines, and 22 Scots die because of alcohol every single week – twice the rate of the 1980s.

Professor Aisha Holloway, University of Edinburgh, said:

“Delivering Alcohol Brief Interventions (ABIs) is not just about the operational mechanisms associated with the national ABI programme i.e. funding, training and IT systems. It is also about GPs having the time to provide person-centred care to understand the complexities of external social and personal issues that people are facing that can trigger harmful/hazardous consumption.”

Dr Niamh Fitzgerald, Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling said:

“Whilst Scotland’s national programme of Alcohol Brief Interventions is amongst the most extensive of any country, it has contributed little in terms of research on how best to incentivise practitioners to talk to patients about alcohol. As Scotland rolls out its new national strategy, there is also an opportunity for Scotland to lead not only in terms of practice, but in developing globally innovative research on how to optimise such conversations to benefit patients.”

Dr Peter Rice, Chair of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), who funded both investigations, said:

“SHAAP has advocated for Alcohol Brief Interventions (ABIs) since our foundation in 2006 and Scotland has been a world leader in the implementation of ABIs. ABIs are strongly supported by the World Health Organisation and the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD) as a key tool in reducing alcohol related harm.  It is vital that, as it refreshes its Alcohol Strategy, the Scottish Government draws on important sources of data, such as these two new reports, to understand how to enhance and develop the national ABI programme, for the benefit of patients.”

Dr Richard Watson, who represents the Royal College of General Practitioners on SHAAP’s Steering Group, and who works in a busy GP practice in Cambuslang, said:

“GPs in Scotland see patients with hazardous drinking not just every working day but every working hour. Both reports show in different ways that brief interventions can and should be delivered in primary care.  I hope that when the new GP contract is finalised, it finds a place for them.”

The information has been issued by the Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), Institute for Social Marketing – University of Stirling, University of Newcastle, and University of Edinburgh.

15 June 2017: New Minimum Unit Pricing Evaluation Webpage

***Thank you to Clare Beeston & the MESAS Project Team for the following information***

As many of you will already know, In 2012, the Scottish Government passed the Alcohol (Minimum Unit Pricing) (Scotland) 2012 Act (the Act) to create a minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol. The legislation contains what is known as a ‘sunset clause’. This means that it will expire after the sixth year of implementation unless the Scottish Parliament votes for it to continue. To inform this decision there is a ‘review clause’ requiring that the Minister presents a review report to parliament on the impact of MUP as soon as possible after the fifth year of implementation.

The Scottish Government has tasked NHS Health Scotland, under the Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy (MESAS) work programme, with leading the evaluation of MUP and producing the review report.

The MUP legislation has been subject to a legal challenge led by the Scotch Whisky Association in partnership with European wine and spirits producers. However, the judicial process is now nearing its close, with an appeal to the UK Supreme Court being heard in July 2017. While the outcome cannot be presumed, in order that a robust and comprehensive evaluation be completed, the MESAS team have developed a proposed portfolio of studies with which to evaluate the impact of MUP.

An overview of the plans to evaluate MUP (including details on the governance of these plans) is now available to view on the new MUP evaluation webpage at:



News Release: Regulating Marketing of Alcohol Can Help Reduce Consumption, Harm

Regulating Marketing of Alcohol Can Help Reduce Consumption, Harm

The following is a press release issued by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The full The publication is available HERE.

Washington, D.C., April 18, 2017 (PAHO/WHO) – Countries can improve public health by regulating the marketing of alcoholic beverages to reduce its consumption and related harms, and the Pan American Health Organization has developed new principles for countries to consider in developing these regulations.

The new PAHO publication, “Technical note: Background on alcohol marketing regulation and monitoring for the protection of public health,” provides elements that governments can use to strengthen legal and regulatory frameworks that would help reduce or eliminate exposure to alcohol marketing.

Alcohol marketing is widespread in the Americas, with modern marketing techniques that go beyond traditional print and electronic media advertisements to include branded merchandise, sponsorships of sporting teams and events, discount pricing, social media, and sales or supply at educational or health establishments.

Substantial evidence now associates alcohol marketing with young people’s drinking behavior, according to the PAHO publication and the scientific journal Addiction. Studies have found that the more young people are exposed to alcohol marketing, the more likely they are to start drinking earlier, and to drink more if they are already drinking. The harmful use of alcohol is one of the four most common preventable risk factors for major noncommunicable diseases and an important risk factor for violence and injury. It also has an impact on other health conditions including HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, as well as on economic and social development.

The document is based on the Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful use of Alcohol of the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the subsequent PAHO Regional Plan of Action. It complements a 2016 PAHO report on Alcohol Marketing Regulation, and was built in consultation with experts, representatives from several Member States and PAHO staff.

The PAHO publication notes that a comprehensive ban on alcohol marketing is likely the only way to eliminate risk of exposure for those most needing protection, such as youth and other vulnerable groups.

Facts on Alcohol in the Americas

• Alcohol consumption in the Region of the Americas is higher on average than in most parts of the world.
• Estimates show a high prevalence of heavy episodic drinking among 15-19 year-olds in the Americas (29.3% for adolescent boys and 7.1% for adolescent girls).
• Alcohol is the leading risk factor for death and disability among people aged 15-49 years in the Americas.
• Nearly 40% of countries in the Americas have no restrictions on alcohol marketing, and none has a full ban on marketing. Seven countries have reported having self-regulatory codes, despite evidence showing they are not effective in reducing youth exposure to alcohol marketing.
• Youth are 5 times more likely to drink alcohol brands that advertise on national television, and 36% more likely to use brands that advertise in national magazines.
• Youth exposed to ads containing a “party” theme were 19 times more likely to initiate drinking and about 4 times more likely to initiate binge drinking.

Additional Links :

PAHO report on Alcohol Marketing Regulation

The Regulation of Alcohol Marketing: From Research to Public Health Policy.

PAHO Alcohol Website.