In response to ONS data on alcohol-specific deaths in England and Wales in 2020 which found:
- In 2020, there were 8,974 deaths (14.0 per 100,000 people) from alcohol-specific causes registered in the UK, an 18.6% increase compared with 2019 (7,565 deaths; 11.8 per 100,000 people) and the highest year-on-year increase since the data time series began in 2001.
- Between 2012 and 2019, rates of alcohol-specific deaths in the UK have remained stable, but a statistically significant increase was seen in 2020.
- Consistent with previous years, the rate of alcohol-specific deaths for males in 2020 remained more than double the rate for females (19.0 and 9.2 deaths per 100,000 people respectively, registered in 2020).
- Scotland and Northern Ireland had the highest rates of alcohol-specific deaths in 2020 (21.5 and 19.6 deaths per 100,000 people respectively).
- Comparing with 2019, the alcohol-specific death rate has risen across all four UK constituent countries, but statistically significant increases were only seen in England and Scotland.
Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said:
“The annual number of alcohol-specific deaths released today, twice as many as drug-related deaths, hide many more where alcohol is a major contributory factor, such as deaths from cancers and strokes. We applaud Government action on illicit drugs but fail to understand their complacency on this other drug of dependence, alcohol.
“Every life lost to alcohol is a tragedy and impacts families and communities every day across the UK. The ONS figures highlight that our poorest communities suffer most from alcohol harm, and so if our Prime Minister is serious about’ levelling up’ he must back the robust plans for drugs with an alcohol strategy that seeks to turn this tragic trend around. The strategy must include policies to stop the sale of cheap, strong alcohol that is so harmful to health, reduce the availability of alcohol and restrict its marketing. Importantly, we also need to make sure that support is available to those who need it now.”