Jackie Baillie has warned that the SNP’s failures on public health has cost lives as new figures show 21 alcohol-specific deaths in West Dunbartonshire and 24 in Argyll and Bute recorded in 2022.

In the last five years, West Dunbartonshire is among seven local authority areas where alcohol-specific death rates have been higher than the Scottish average. The 2022 figure for the council area however is a reduction from 40 in the previous year.

The latest figures contained in a new National Records of Scotland report also show that the alcohol-specific mortality rate in the most deprived areas was a shocking 4.3 times higher than it was in the least deprived.

The figures contained within the report only include deaths wholly attributable to alcohol misuse – not all deaths where alcohol was a factor.

The Dumbarton constituency MSP branded these figures a “public health emergency” and slammed the SNP’s record of cuts to Alcohol and Drug Partnerships.

Jackie Baillie said: “These figures are a heartbreaking reminder of how many lives have been needlessly lost because of alcohol and how many families have been torn apart. While the figure in West Dunbartonshire has fallen over the past year which is welcome, the five-year average is greater here than the Scottish average. That remains a concern.

“In Argyll and Bute, the figure between 2021 and 2022 has risen which is extremely worrying.

“Every single one of these deaths is a tragedy, and the effect on the poorest communities is a national scandal and this has a direct impact on our area.

“This is a public health emergency on the same scale as Scotland’s drug death crisis. Both are the legacy of the SNP’s shameful cuts to Drug and Alcohol Partnerships.

“The SNP’s failure on public health is costing lives and it is devastating the poorest communities. We urgently need a comprehensive plan to support treatment services and ensure those struggling with alcohol can get the help they need.”

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