IN my letter of October 9 I made the point that alcohol is a powerful drug. It is, nevertheless, a socially acceptable and legally available drug. It causes 22 deaths a week in Scotland, slightly less than the last recorded illegal drugs deaths, but almost every user of illegal drugs also uses alcohol in the cocktail of drugs that cause their deaths. Most suicides are attempted under the influence of alcohol. So the deaths from alcohol makes it the biggest drug problem, affecting families in Scotland.

Those holding licences for alcohol in the leisure industry, pubs, restaurants and clubs are up in arms at the Scottish Government daring to target them in the latest Covid lockdown fully understand the serious loss of business and threat to jobs, but the science is still telling us that one very clear and important source of spreading the virus is enclosed spaces, with poor ventilation attracting people to consume the drug alcohol as part of their reasons for being there.

One factor that the alcohol industry and restaurants in particular don't mention is that the so-called wet sales side of their business is alcohol, sold at extortionate prices, which is often a bigger earner for them than the meals they sell. Typically wines we can buy in the supermarket for £6 are sold at £15-£20 or more and accounts for 30 per cent or more of the bill. Perhaps one lesson that could be learned from the horrible Covid pandemic is that those with alcohol licences who also sell food, should aim in the future to make more of their income from food and non-alcoholic drinks. That would then convince me that licensed premises are safer places to consume alcohol than the carry-out at home, with lots of your pals, that the drinks trade claims is so unsafe and the real source of the increase in the spread of the virus.

We must not forget though that the effects of alcohol are to disinhibit us in all social settings. Alcohol loosening our tongues; relaxing our behaviour, heightens our emotions and this very quickly leads to us forgetting our troubles, including the awful lockdown rules of cleanliness, face masks, not talking or singing loudly and getting more intimate with people. Alcohol also is behind the serious rise in domestic abuse, sexual and violent attacks. One positive outcome from the Covid pandemic could be that the Scottish nation would learn to respect alcohol and use this drug more safely.

Max Cruickshank, Glasgow G12.

ANY readers out there willing to bet that the Scottish Government won’t extend the latest pub closure restrictions beyond the 16 days stipulated?

It does have serious form on this, having constantly done so in the past. The motto seems to be “ff it doesn’t work, keep trying anyway”, even though it never does.

It is in serious danger of losing the respect it has had for its reasonably efficient government over the years, as its policies turn from confusion to farce.

Dave Henderson, Glasgow G12.

YOU cannot get a drink, go for a coffee in a hotel (unless you are a resident), and now golf clubhouses are banned too – yet you can go to a large garden centre cafe and meet up with one other household. For older golfers unable to play, just a blether is a lifeline to many of them; also a godsend to wives of golfers. Nicola Sturgeon will need a large mental health budget we are locked in with nowhere to go over the winter months.

M Blair, Greenock.