Alcohol Focus Scotland study looks at the links between drink deaths and availability of booze.
Areas of Scotland with the most pubs and off-licences have alcohol related deaths rates more than double those in neighbourhoods with the fewest.
A study, commissioned by Alcohol Focus Scotland and undertaken by researchers at the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, investigated the links between booze outlet availability and health across the whole of Scotland.
Key findings were that alcohol-related death and hospital admission rates were significantly higher in neighbourhoods with higher numbers of alcohol outlets and that neighbourhoods with the most alcohol outlets had alcohol-related death rates more than double those in neighbourhoods with the fewest outlets.
“If we want fewer people to end up in hospital or lose their lives because of alcohol, then we have to be concerned about the high number of alcohol outlets
Dr Elizabeth Richardson, centre for research on environment, society and health at the University of Edinburgh said: “The role of local neighbourhood environments in enabling drinking has received little attention in Scotland to date, but our findings show that this is a serious oversight.
“The strong relationship we found between alcohol outlets and related health outcomes leads us to suggest that reducing outlet numbers, particularly in the highest availability neighbourhoods, could have health benefits for the Scottish population.”
Dr Evelyn Gillan, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: “This study should encourage all of us to think about how the environment we live in can have a bearing on health.
“If we want fewer people to end up in hospital or lose their lives because of alcohol, then we have to be concerned about the high number of alcohol outlets in our neighbourhoods. Licensing boards have a key role to play in regulating the overall number of licensed premises and their decisions should be informed by studies such as this.”