THE number of people in Scotland dying from alcohol-related diseases has fallen to its lowest level since the 1990s.

Last year 1080 died from conditions linked to alcohol, against 1247 in 2011. This is the lowest annual total since 1997, although alcohol-related deaths remain more than three times higher than in the 1980s.

Scottish Health Minister Alex Neil said: "For too long, too many Scots have been drinking themselves into an early grave and we are looking to take bold measures to address alcohol misuse in Scotland.

"As part of a range of measures, minimum pricing is an effective way to reduce consumption and the harm that overuse of alcohol does.

"What all these figures show is that by encouraging people to live healthier lives, eat better, be more active, stop smoking and drink sensibly, it can have a positive impact on their health and leads to a longer life."

A spokesman for Alcohol Focus Scotland, the national alcohol charity, said: "The reduction is to be welcomed, but alcohol-related deaths are still far higher than 30 years ago."