ALCOHOL-RELATED deaths in Glasgow have fallen to their lowest level for more than 20 years as experts have claimed the introduction of minimum unit pricing may be responsible.

Research presented at the UK's largest conference for liver experts on Thursday shows the policy, introduced in May 2018 across Scotland, , may have had a significant impact amongst drinkers in Glasgow.

The findings, being presented at the city's British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL) conference, shows the number of alcohol-related deaths in the city dropped from 186 in 2017 to 146 in 2018, a reduction of 21.5 per cent.

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As well as this, almost half of the alcohol-related deaths in 2018 in Glasgow occurred before May 2018 when minimum unit pricing was introduced. This means the number of deaths linked to drinking is at its lowest level since 1995.

Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: “The significant reduction in alcohol-related deaths in Glasgow is very welcome news and suggests that minimum unit pricing may be starting to have a real impact on people’s lives.

“Glasgow has had particularly high levels of alcohol deaths compared to other parts of Scotland. Each death represents a life needlessly cut short and a heartbreaking loss to family and friends.

“Although it is early days there’s every reason to remain confident that minimum unit pricing will save lives and significantly improve our health and the well-being of our families and communities.

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"But, as with tobacco control, one measure alone will not be sufficient."

Scotland was the first country in the world to implement a minimum unit price for alcohol, following a ten-year campaign by health bodies.

The policy states all alcohol sold through licensed premises in Scotland cannot be sold below a set price and depends on the amount of alcohol contained in the product.

The figures were presented by Dr Ewan Forrest, who emphasised more time is needed to assess the impact of minimum unit pricing.

Dr Forrest added: "Glasgow has always had much higher levels of alcohol-related deaths than other parts of Scotland.

"This latest information suggests that minimum unit pricing may be reducing alcohol-related harm in those at highest risk.

"More time is needed to assess the effect of minimum unit pricing on the rest of Scotland and to get a clearer idea as to how it might affect the rest of the UK.”

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Glasgow's health board also welcomed the findings.

Dr Linda de Caestecker, director of public health, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, added: “It is very encouraging that Glasgow is seeing a sustained reduction in the number of alcohol related deaths.

“These figures are to be welcomed and indicate the work we are doing with partners agencies is making a positive difference to lives.

“Minimum alcohol pricing is helping Scotland to implement one of the most effective policies to address this public health challenge and save lives.

“Addressing the harm caused by the misuse of alcohol is a priority for us and, while the misuse of alcohol continues to have a serious effect on the lives of our population, our aim is to see further progress made over the coming years."