In response to ONS data on alcohol-specific deaths in the UK in 2021 which found:
- There were 9,641 deaths (14.8 per 100,000 people) from alcohol-specific causes registered in the UK, the highest number on record, and a 7.4% increase from the previous year. This is 27.4% higher than in 2019, the last pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic year.
- 78% of the deaths were caused by alcohol-related liver disease, 12.1% from mental and behavioural disorders due to the use of alcohol, and 5.8% from accidental poisoning by, and exposure to, alcohol.
- There are clear regional differences: alcohol-related mortality has been highest in the North East for eight consecutive years, with double the number of deaths (20.4 per 100,000) than the London region (10.2 per 100,000).
Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said:
“It is a national tragedy that the number of deaths caused by alcohol has increased once again across the UK, with every life lost leaving behind a devastating impact on families, friends, and communities.
“COVID-19 saw the number of alcohol deaths increase sharply across the UK, and the continuation of this upward trend in today’s figures should raise alarm bells in Westminster. Research modelling the impact of the changing consumption patterns during the pandemic predicts that there will be nearly 10,000 more premature deaths by 2035 if drinking does not return to pre-pandemic levels, as well as the untold harm caused to others.
“It is all too clear that we are amidst a public health crisis, and urgent action is needed to address these levels of harm. We desperately need the UK Government to deliver on well-evidenced policies, such as an effective alcohol duty system, to reverse this tragic trend.”