Alcohol related deaths in England and Wales rocket in past decade

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Yahoo News UK
From 2007 to 2017 the number of alcohol-specific deaths rose by 17% according to NHS figures. Stock image. (PA).
From 2007 to 2017 the number of alcohol-specific deaths rose by 17% according to NHS figures. Stock image. (PA).

The number of people who died as a result of alcohol has increased by almost 20% in the past decade.

Statistics released by the NHS revealed there were 5,800 alcohol-specific deaths in 2017, a 6% increase on 2016 and 17% on 2007.

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Of these alcoholic liver disease accounts for 80% of alcohol-specific deaths in the period.

The figures, which have been published as part of Statistics on Alcohol, England 2019 reveal there were 338,000 people admitted to hospital where the main cause was drinking alcohol in the same period.

Alcohol-related hospital admissions in the UK rose by 100,000 people last year
Alcohol-related hospital admissions in the UK rose by 100,000 people last year

A broader measure that looks at a range of other conditions that could be caused by alcohol shows 1.2 million admissions in 2017/18 although the NHS claims improvements in coding make this less comparable through time.

People aged 45 or over accounted for 69% of admissions where the main cause was due to alcohol.

Despite growing concern about the longterm impact of heavy alcohol use the study revealed 21% of people aged 16 and over drank more than 14-units per week, and 27% of adults in higher income households were likely to exceed the recommended allowance compared to 15% in lower income households.

But alcohol specific death rates were highest in the most deprived areas (30.1 deaths per 100,000 people for men and 13.5 for women), and lowest in the least deprived areas (7.0 deaths per 100,000 people for men and 4.0 for women).

Ian Hamilton Professor of Mental Health and Addiction, University of York, said: “Unfortunately a new record has been set for the number of people dying as a result of alcohol, with 5843 dying mainly from liver disease.

“Twice as many men as women loose their lives as a result of drinking, a trend that has been consistent for some time. Most of these deaths occur for people in their 40s, 50s or 60s, they are dying decades before they should.

“There is also a clear North/South divide as the rate of alcohol deaths is higher in northern areas, there is also evidence that it is those in the most deprived areas that are disproportionately affected.

“This is at odds with drinking patterns among the highest income groups who were found to be more likely to drink excessively or in a risky way such as binge drinking.”

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