Deaths from alcohol in the UK draw near to highest ever recorded levels

·Data and Politics News Editor, Yahoo News UK
Alcohol-specific deaths in the UK are currently near to the highest ever levels (PA Images)
Alcohol-specific deaths in the UK are currently near to the highest ever levels (PA Images)

Deaths caused by alcohol in the UK have increased to similar rates seen in 2008 when they were the highest ever recorded.

Data released by the Office of National Statistics found that in 2017, 7,697 people died in the UK as a direct result of drinking.

More than twice as many men than women died because of alcohol, with 16.8 and 8.0 deaths per 100,000 people respectively.

Scotland remains the country with the highest rates of alcohol-specific deaths, despite a significant decrease since 2001.

Alcohol deaths among women reached their highest levels since records began in 2017.

Since 2001 there has been a marked increase in alcohol deaths among 55-79 year-olds, but death rates were highest for 60-64 year-olds, with 29.7 deaths per 100,000 people.

While alcohol deaths decreased in Scotland since 2001, the rates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have all risen, with Northern Ireland seeing a 40% increase.

Alcohol-specific death rates per 100,000 people (ONS)
Alcohol-specific death rates per 100,000 people (ONS)

In England the rate of alcohol-specific deaths in 2017 was highest in the North East. London had the lowest rate of any region for the first time since 2011.

Karen Tyrell, executive director of external affairs at Addaction, a mental health, drug and alcohol charity, said: “We know alcohol is an issue for over-50s and we need to do a lot more to reach this group in a way that works for them.

“For older drinkers, alcohol often creeps up and gradually plays a more central role in day-to-day life.

“The people we work with frequently talk about alcohol as a way to deal with loneliness, isolation, and the sense of loss that sometimes comes with retirement and move into a new phase of life.”

“The good news is that everyone can change their relationship with alcohol. Thousands of us do it every month. There’s no ‘right’ way to do it. Everyone’s journey is different and worthwhile. If you need help or support, reach out.”

—Watch the latest videos from Yahoo UK—