22 April 2024

WithYou responds to ONS annual report on alcohol-specific deaths


Today, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published its annual report on alcohol-specific deaths showing significant increases in the alcohol-specific death rate in England, Wales, and Scotland.

The report finds that:

  • In 2022 there were 10,048 deaths from alcohol-specific causes registered in the UK, the highest number on record.
  • The number recorded in 2022 was 4.2% higher than in 2021 and 32.8% higher than in 2019 (the last pre-COVID-19 pandemic year).
  • Compared with 2019, there have been statistically significant increases in the alcohol-specific death rate in England, Wales, and Scotland.
  • The rate of alcohol-specific deaths for males in 2022 remained around double the rate for females, but deaths among females have increased 37% since 2019.
  • The North East had the highest rate of alcohol-specific deaths of any English region in 2022.

Simon Phillips, Chief Executive at WithYou, says:

“This report will be difficult reading for anyone who has lost a loved one to alcohol. These numbers represent a life cut short and an individual tragedy for their families and friends. My thoughts are with anyone affected.

“Sadly these statistics continue to highlight the ongoing impact of the pandemic. Back in 2020 we warned that we would be seeing a second health crisis come out of lockdown. Today’s stats show that alcohol liver disease is the leading cause of deaths in 2022 - likely as a result of the increased drinking we saw during the pandemic.

“With alcohol-specific deaths at record levels, urgent action is needed. It’s been more than 10 years since an alcohol strategy has been published by our Government. We want to see a review and plan for alcohol like the Dame Carol Black Independent Review of Drugs provided for drug treatment and recovery. The review needs to look at the drinking culture we have here in the UK. It also needs to focus on the need to normalise getting support as we know that is one of the biggest barriers for people who have challenges with alcohol.

“Only the other day a colleague shared with me his personal struggles with alcohol that spanned 20 years. It resulted in him making an attempt on his life and being admitted to hospital with organ failure. He was finally able to get the support he needed, is now in recovery and working for WithYou to use his experience to support others. But we know that isn’t the case for everyone. Four out of five people dependent on alcohol are not in treatment. This needs to change.

“If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol I urge you to reach out to us. You, read our advice and information pages or start chatting to one of our trained advisors today. It’s completely free and confidential.”

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