Research

Alcohol-related deaths fall, but still higher than 1994

By Oli Gross contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: England, United kingdom

Office of National Statistics find alcohol-related deaths fall
Alcohol-related deaths have dropped yet again as the trend for less irresponsible drinking in the UK continues, according to latest research.

A study from the Office of National Statistics released yesterday (2 February 2016) found that in 2014 there were 8,697 alcohol-related deaths registered in the UK, an age-standardised rate of 14.3 deaths per 100,000 people.  

In the UK as a whole, alcohol-related death rates have fallen consistently since peaking in 2008, but there are still warnings as the rate in 2014 is still higher than in 1994. 

Trend

The British Beer and Pub Association highlighted how unhealthy drinking has, as a whole, been in decline in recent years.

A spokesman said: “These latest figures mirror the fact harmful drinking has been falling. From 2005–2013, men drinking over the guidelines dropped from 41% to 34% and women from 33% to 26%.”

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers hailed the industry’s work in promoting responsible retailing, which has led to the fall in fatalities.

Men

Statistics also found that the majority of alcohol-related deaths (65%) in the UK in 2014 were men.  Alcohol-related death rates were also highest among 55 to 64-year-olds. 

For both sexes, Scotland had the highest alcohol-related death rates in 2014. However, Scotland has also seen the fastest decrease in its rates since they peaked in the 2000s. 

Alcohol-related death rates for both sexes were significantly higher in the north of England than the south in 2014. 

But England and Wales are the only UK countries where alcohol-related death rates for females were significantly higher in 2014 than 1994, according to research.

Warning

Though the stats indicate a drop in alcohol-related deaths, Dr John Larsen, director of evidence and impact for alcohol education charity Drinkaware, said the results come with a warning.

“Although alcohol-related deaths are still lower than their 2008 peak it is concerning to see that the rate is higher than it was 20 years ago,” he said.

“It’s also worrying to see the continuing trend of alcohol-related deaths disproportionately affecting men and those living in the north of England and Scotland.

“The reasons for this may be due to a combination of factors including higher consumption levels amongst men and different drinking habits in the north of England and Scotland. Those in the north of England and Scotland were most likely to have consumed more than twice the recommended amount on a single day in Great Britain.

“Alcohol-related deaths are highest among 55-64 year-olds. This is likely to be the result of cumulative damage - for example to the liver - built up over many years of drinking. But the good news is that there are steps that people of all ages can take to reduce alcohol-related harm.

“To avoid developing long term alcohol-related health problems, evidence suggests that even small reductions in drinking can make a big difference to your health.  For example having several drink-free days each week is a good way to cut down the amount you are drinking.”

Related topics: Health & safety

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