Alcohol was a factor in more than 5,500 GP consultations in Scotland on one day alone last month, according to a new survey.
BMA Scotland, which carried out the study, said this equates to 1.4 million consultations per year, costing the NHS more than £28m.
It warned that a “significant proportion” of adults are risking alcohol related health problems, with alcohol killing five people a day.
The organisation called on candidates in all the political parties to acknowledge the damaging influence of alcohol misuse on individuals and in communities every day in Scotland.
It urged them to spend one of the last few days of the election campaign outlining how they will tackle alcohol misuse in the next Scottish Parliament.
Dr Alan McDevitt, deputy chairman of the BMA’s Scottish General Practitioners Committee, said: “Those who suffer from alcohol related health problems are not just alcoholics or heavy binge drinkers.
“By regularly drinking over and above recommended limits, a significant proportion of the adult population is at risk of experiencing health problems that are linked to the alcohol they consume whether it is high blood pressure, breast cancer or even domestic abuse.
“In just one day, nurses and doctors working in general practices across Scotland saw more than 5,500 patients where alcohol had contributed to their ill health.
“But the patients seen in general practice are just the tip of the iceberg. The impact of alcohol misuse across the rest of the NHS, in hospitals and in our communities is far greater.”
The BMA study found that alcohol was a factor in 6 per cent of all GP consultations.
Published today, the study was based on a sample of 31 practices (3 per cent of the total) from across Scotland.
The BMA said that each day alcohol will cost Scotland £97.5m in terms of health, violence and crime.
On one day an average 98 people will be admitted to hospital with an alcohol-related condition, while 23 people will commit a drink driving offence, it said.
Other health organisations backed the BMA’s call for action to tackle the country’s alcohol problem.
Alcohol Focus Scotland called on politicians to consider a minimum unit price for alcohol.
Alcohol Focus Scotland chief executive of Evelyn Gillan said: “We must to face up to the fact that the increase in alcohol consumption is being fuelled by the fact that alcohol is more affordable, more available and more heavily marketed than at any time over the last thirty years. The cheaper it is, the more we consume.
“For the health and well-being of everyone in Scotland, robust action must be taken to increase price.”
The Royal College of Nursing Scotland suggested more alcohol liaison nurses who provide a range of support that ultimately saves the NHS money by reducing re-attendance at A&E and hospital admissions.
Dr Bruce Ritson, chairman of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems said: “The simple fact is that individually and collectively we are drinking at levels that compromise our health and well-being and, as a society, we need to drink less.”
SNP deputy first minister and health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “These figures highlight the very real problem Scotland faces with alcohol and the impact it has not just on people’s lives but on our public services.
“Over the last four years the SNP took action to address Scotland’s relationship with alcohol but there is more to do.
“A re-elected SNP government will act responsibly and reintroduce plans for a minimum price for alcohol and we will challenge all those parties in Parliament who put party politics before public health to put the interests of Scotland first.”