A quarter of patients who end up in intensive care units in hospitals in Scotland have drink problems, most with chronic alcohol disease, according to a new survey published by the medical journal Anaesthesia.
The study of 771 patients across all 24 intensive care units put the cost of caring for them at about £9m a year. Many young and less well off people were affected.
The Scottish government has already decided to bring in a range of measure including minimum drink pricing and cut drink drive limits.
The figure of £9 a year represents just one element of the annual cost to the health service. It does not include, for example, the cost of treating heavily intoxicated people in accident and emergency units.
The cost of alcohol abuse in Northern Ireland is also a major burden on the health service.