From David Bols, headlining in the Herald today:
SNP ministers are overseeing an “addictions crisis” amid concerns alcohol-related deaths are not being tackled with the same urgency as Scotland’s record drug deaths. A leading charity has called for a “proportionate response” to alcohol deaths, alongside drug-related fatalities.https://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/20219596.snp-government-warned-addiction-crisis-amid-fears-alcohol-deaths-neglected/
A quick look at the NRS data used by the Herald reveals this to be about 2020, a year of lockdowns when there was a spike in alcohol deaths triggered by increased consumption in those difficult times. The data for 2021 will not be published until August 2022.
So this is a spike with clear causes and not a trend justifying the claims of the ‘leading charity’ nor of Bols. The more informative, more meaningful, 5 year average is flat.
Bols also claims that 2020 recorded the ‘highest annual number since 2008.’ He’s correct but sneakily selective on this. Look only two years earlier at the graph’s real peak in 2006 (under Labour) instead and, in the absence of the 2021 data, the 2020 spike means little.