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Alcohol harm hotspots concerns

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By Fiona Reid
Alcohol harm hotspots concerns

A LIMIT is being proposed on any new alcohol licences in four parts of Dumfries and Galloway to try and reduce harm to health.

Health bosses are recommending that in future council leaders restrict new applications in Dumfries Central, Annan West, Stranraer East and Rhins North.

They believe there is already overprovision of alcohol locally and have concerns about the impact of drinking on public health in those particular neighbourhoods.

A paper on the matter was shared with Dumfries and Galloway NHS Health Board on Monday. It said: “There is a huge spectrum of potential harm in relation to alcohol including: hospital admissions; crime; death; domestic violence; and drink driving.

“Eleven-25 years old alcohol related hospital admissions in Dumfries and Galloway have gone slightly above the rate for Scotland, having previously been slightly below this rate.

“During the pandemic off sales increased and on sales decreased however since 2019 off sales have had a bigger share of the market.”

For their research health officials analysed the availability of alcohol across the region, both at licensed premises and off licences.

In addition, they considered alcohol related harm, including alcohol related admissions to hospital, alcohol related A&E attendances, rate of alcohol specific deaths and the rate of offences for alcohol related behaviour.

All these measures were analysed to assess if there was already overprovision in place in communities.

And their report duly recommended that the local licensing board limit approving new applications in the four named areas to support reduction in alcohol related harm.

The report has now been submitted to the local authority and discussions are planned between the health board and the licensing board members about “the need to rebalance the relationship society has with alcohol”.

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