A Dumbarton alcohol support service has dubbed statistics from the 2018 Global Drug Survey, which revealed Scotland had the highest proportion of its respondents who sought emergency medical care after a drinking session, as “particularly worrying”.

The Global Drug Survey 2018, which was released last week by independent research company Global Drug Survey (GDS), looked at the recreational drug use of 130,000 people across 44 countries.

According to the study, which surveyed 5000 people in the UK, 4.2 per cent of Scotland respondents sought emergency medical care after a drinking session in the last year.

The figures are double the level of English drinkers seeking medical treatment after drinking (2.1 per cent), highlighting “how entrenched a problem drinking is north of the border,” according to the report.

Responding to the survey results, Mags MacKenzie, Chief Executive of Dumbarton Area Council on Alcohol (DACA), told the Reporter: “Scotland has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, and typically fares worse than the other home nations in respect of alcohol harm statistics.

“However, it’s particularly worrying to see us at the top of the league table for alcohol harms in an international study like this.

“In West Dunbartonshire, our alcohol-related hospital admission statistics are on the increase.

“These statistics aren’t just numbers on a page. Every one of them is a real person who ends up in the Vale Hospital or over in the RAH because of alcohol.”

“At DACA, we witness first-hand how harmful drinking can be – not only for dependent drinkers, but also for people who overindulge in heavy drinking sessions at the weekend.

“These are the people who are at particular risk of experiencing accidents and falls, getting caught up in fights fuelled by alcohol or ending up in A&E with alcohol poisoning.”

The survey also showed Scots were found on average to consume 1.2g of cocaine in a single session.

The statistic was higher than in England (0.7g) and the worldwide average (0.5g).

And Ms MacKenzie highlighted that mixing alcohol with cocaine can be a deadly combination, claims there’s “work to be done” to educate communities around the risks.

Ms MacKenzie said: “We know that many binge drinkers also use cocaine, often as a means of prolonging their drinking session, and anecdotal evidence from our client group suggests that cocaine is readily available across this area.

“Unfortunately, few people really appreciate the dangers that they’re exposing themselves to by mixing booze and cocaine. The risk of sudden death is 20 times greater when combining alcohol and cocaine than it is for using cocaine on its own. So there’s work to be done, both nationally and locally, to educate our communities around these risks.”

But Ms MacKenzie also highlighted that there were also some positives to be taken from the survey.

“One of the positive messages from the Global Drug Survey is that 41% of Scottish respondents want to reduce their drinking,” she said.

“And at DACA we try to make it as easy as possible for people to pop in and have a chat if they are worried about their own drinking or that of a loved one.

“Every year we help hundreds of people get their drinking back under control. But for every person we help, we know there are many more who are invisible to us.

“We urge anyone who is worried about their drinking, or that of a loved one, to get in touch and speak to one of our highly trained team at DACA.”

A spokeswoman for West Dunbartonshire HSCP said: “West Dunbartonshire addiction services continue to work in partnership with a range of local agencies to address addiction issues in the community whilst providing recovery orientated systems of care to those individuals who require support with their drug and alcohol difficulties.”