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2 February 2021

With You responds to new ONS stats showing alcohol related deaths remain close to record levels

The ONS today released new statistics showing the number of alcohol specific deaths in the UK for the calendar year of 2019. The headline statistics are as follows: 

  • In 2019, there were 7,565 deaths registered in the UK that related to alcohol-specific causes, the second highest since the data time series began in 2001.
  • Alcohol-specific death rates were highest among those aged 55 to 59 years and 60 to 64 years for both men and women in 2019.
  • Northern Ireland and Scotland had the highest rates of alcohol-specific death in 2019 (18.8 and 18.6 deaths per 100,000 people respectively).
  • Alcoholic liver disease was the cause of 77.2% of deaths. 
  • Male alcohol specific deaths have risen by 22% in England since 2001 while female alcohol specific deaths have risen by 25% in the same time period. 
  • For the sixth consecutive year, the North East had the highest alcohol specific death rate of any English region. 

Julie Breslin, Head of the Drink Wise, Age Well programme at drug, alcohol and mental health charity With You (We Are With You) said:

“The number of people in treatment for an alcohol issue has fallen by nearly one fifth since 2013/14. At the same time we know that around four out of five dependent drinkers aren’t accessing any kind of support. Sadly, these statistics show the impact of what happens when the majority of people with an issue with alcohol aren’t accessing treatment or support, especially in a country with such a heavy drinking culture as the UK. Our thoughts are with all those affected. 

“The picture is particularly acute for older adults, with people aged between 55 and 64 years old most likely to die of an alcohol-related cause. Life changes such as bereavement, retirement and a lack of purpose have led to older adults drinking more in recent years while younger generations are drinking less. 

“While these statistics don’t include the impact of the pandemic, we’ve seen this picture become exacerbated in the past year. Many older adults are unable to see their loved ones or friends, and are drinking more as a way to cope with increased loneliness, isolation and anxiety. Our research showed that at the end of last year more than one in two over 50s were drinking at a level that could cause health problems now or in the future, with nearly one in four classed as high risk or possibly dependent.

“We know that people aged over 50 are most likely to reach out to a service that’s specifically aimed at them. That’s why we recently launched a dedicated helpline to provide alcohol-related advice and support to this group. To anyone 50 or over who’s concerned about their drinking, give us a call for free on 0808 8010750. You’ll speak confidentially to someone who understands what you’re going through and can support you to make healthier choices that will benefit all parts of your life.”