The number of alcohol-specific deaths in Scotland rose by just over 30 to 1,276 between 2021 and 2022, according to the latest figures from Public Health Scotland – an increase of 2 per cent. The figure represents the highest number since 2008.
While the number of deaths among men remained unchanged – and men continue to account for two thirds of all alcohol-specific deaths – the number of deaths among women increased by 31 to 440. As with drug deaths, people in the country’s most deprived areas are more likely to die an alcohol-specific death. There were more than four times as many deaths in the most deprived communities compared to the least deprived.
‘Looking at the long-term trend, the number of deaths from alcohol-specific causes fell between 2006 and 2012 but has risen since and is now about the same as 2010 levels,’ said head of vital events statistics at Public Health Scotland, Daniel Burns. ‘In 2022, the average age at death for females from an alcohol-specific cause was 58.7 years and for males it was 60.0 years.’
Earlier this year more than 30 health organisations and charities issued a call for urgent action to stop Scotland from ‘sleep walking’ back to the record levels of alcohol-related deaths it saw in the early 2000s, including tightening of marketing restrictions and ‘increased and sustained’ investment in treatment (www.drinkanddrugsnews.com/scotland-could-be-sleep-walking-back-to-record-alcohol-deaths). Recent analysis by Alcohol Focus Scotland found that access to alcohol treatment in Scotland had fallen by 40 per cent over the course of a decade (www.drinkanddrugsnews.com/alcohol-treatment-in-scotland-down-by-40-per-cent-in-a-decade).
While Scotland continues to have the highest alcohol-specific death rate of any UK country, the gap has been narrowing over the last 20 years. Figures for alcohol-specific deaths in 2022 for the rest of the UK are due to be published soon.
Alcohol-specific deaths 2022, report and data here