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Health / Alcohol death figure rises but difficult to draw any longer-term trend, NHS says

NHS Shetland’s director of public health says there is “no sustained trend” in the numbers of people dying locally from alcohol-related causes.

Dr Susan Laidlaw was commenting after the publication this week of alcohol-specific death statistics for Scotland in 2022.

NHS Shetland’s director of public health Dr Susan Laidlaw.

These showed a total of 1,276 alcohol-specific deaths in Scotland in 2022, which was up by 31 on the previous year.

In Shetland that number was six, which is above recent averages.

Dr Laidlaw said: “The number of people recorded as dying due to alcohol-related causes in Shetland has varied from zero to nine a year over the past 40 years.

“Last year six people died, which is an increase of two in 2021 and none in 2020 and an average of three a year in the previous 10 years.

“Due to Shetland’s small population, it is difficult to know if there is any significant difference in the rates of alcohol-related deaths from year to year as there is no sustained trend.

“However, we should be aiming to prevent any alcohol-related illness and death through measures such as working as a community to change the culture around drinking; using licensing legislation to limit the availability of alcohol, especially to those under 18; and supporting people to reduce their alcohol intake and stop harmful drinking behaviours.”


The Substance Misuse Recovery Service can be found in the Lerwick Health Centre and contacted on 01595743006.

The Recovery Hub and Community Network is located in Lerwick’s Pitt Lane. Its phone number is 01595744402.

Shetland Alcohol and Drug Partnership’s website can be found here.

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