Irish in Scotland twice as likely to die from drinking too much alcohol

Irish in Scotland twice as likely to die from drinking too much alcohol

IRISH people living in Scotland are up to twice as likely to be hospitalised – or to die – from alcohol-related diseases as White Scottish people, research suggests.

The findings come from scientists from the University of Edinburgh, who studied what ethnicities were admitted to hospital and died from alcohol use. Their study – the first to use a reliable measure of ethnicity – used data from the NHS and the 2001 Census.

The University say the study is "the first to use a reliable measure of ethnicity".

The study found that compared with rates for White Scottish people, the risks of alcohol-related disease hospitalisations or deaths for Irish people living in Scotland increased by 82 per cent for men and 55 per cent for women.

People from a Chinese or Pakistani background had the lowest risks of alcohol-related illness or death, although they were at greatest risk of other liver diseases such as viral hepatitis.

Researchers hope that the findings will inform public health policy on alcohol use, pricing and taxation for the whole population of Scotland.

Dr Neeraj Bhala, who conducted the study at University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Population Health Sciences, said: “The ethnic variation in the alcohol and liver-related hospitalisations and deaths in Scotland found in this large-scale study is a cause for concern.

“We have important lessons to learn about preventing these alcohol- and liver-related deaths, and we should look to communities with typically low levels of alcohol consumption to help develop policies that benefit the whole population of Scotland.”

The findings have been published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism.