16.08.2022

Alcohol-related deaths hit record high during pandemic

There were 5,460 deaths related to “alcohol-specific causes” between January and September last year, figures from the ONS show. It marks a 16 per cent increase in these kinds of deaths compared with the same nine-month period in 2019.

Alcohol-related deaths in England and Wales rose to a record high during 2020, according to the latest government statistics.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said there had been a “statistically significantly” spike in alcohol deaths in the period after the first coronavirus lockdown was imposed.

The ONS said death rates seen between April and September – the months after strict, stay-at-home curbs on movement were introduced in a bid to control the pandemic – were higher than at any other time since records began back in 2001.

Ben Humberstone, ONS’ deputy director of health and life events, said there had been a clear increase in alcohol deaths during the pandemic – but said was too early to say exactly why this might be.

“Today’s data shows that in the first three quarters of 2020, alcohol-specific deaths in England and Wales reached the highest level since the beginning of our data series, with April to September, during and after the first lockdown, seeing higher rates compared to the same period in previous years,” said Mr Humberstone.

“The reasons for this are complex and it will take time before the impact the pandemic has had on alcohol-specific deaths is fully understood.”

Consistent with previous years, rates of male alcohol-specific deaths were twice those of females in the first three months of 2020.

The ONS also noted that alcohol death rates were “statistically significantly” higher than the previous year in north-east England and London between April and June, and in south-west England between July and September.

Experts said the pandemic had little impact on how long it took to register and record the alcohol-related deaths.

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