Alcohol-related deaths peaked in 15 years in Gloucestershire during the pandemic.
Charities have warned that the pandemic – along with the financial pressures and social isolation caused by the lockdown – has led some people to drink more, while at the same time treatment services are disrupted.
Across the region, there were 70 alcohol-specific deaths in 2020, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics – nearly double the 36 in 2019, and was the highest number recorded since the start of the figures in 2006.
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Alcohol-related deaths only include health problems where each death is a direct result of alcohol abuse (hence, entirely attributable causes such as alcoholic liver disease).
More generally, alcohol contributed to 240 deaths in Gloucestershire in 2020, up from 208 the year before.
In 2020, there were 8,974 alcohol-related deaths in the UK.
This is a 19% increase from 2019 (7,565 deaths) and the largest year-over-year increase since the time series began in 2001.
Public Health England data collected during the pandemic shows that while there were higher levels of abstinence from alcohol since the first nationwide lockdown, there was also an increase in the number of people reporting higher levels of drinking. (greater than 35 units per week).
Dr Richard Piper, Managing Director of Alcohol Change UK, said: ‘Up to one in four of us drank more in 2020 and may have found ourselves with new habits that are hard to break.
“Any of us can end up drinking badly. And each of us deserves to live a full life free from the harms of alcohol and have high-quality early support if we find ourselves struggling.
“The damage caused by alcohol goes beyond this unacceptable and preventable loss of life. Millions more suffer worsening mental and physical health every day from harmful alcohol consumption – a huge in 10 hospital patients are alcoholics – and the damage reverberates, affecting children, families and communities.
He said the government needed to act urgently – while the announcement of significant new funding for drug and alcohol treatment services was welcome, more preventive measures were needed, such as clearer labeling, a minimum unit price and reasonable limits on the marketing of alcohol to children.
Three causes were responsible for 96 percent of all alcohol-related deaths recorded in 2020 – alcoholic liver disease (78 percent), mental and behavioral disorders due to alcohol use (12 percent) and external causes of death, including accidental poisoning and exposure to alcohol (six percent).
Vanessa Hebditch, director of policy at the British Liver Trust, said: ‘These new data confirm our fears that the increase in alcohol consumption and the disruption of alcohol support services during the pandemic have unfortunately resulted in thousands. more deaths from alcohol-related liver disease. .
“This must serve as a wake-up call to the government that the UK urgently needs a common plan to address the liver disease crisis as the UK recovers from Covid. They also need to address the affordability and acceptability of alcohol in our society. “
The Gloucestershire helpline is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It’s certain 01452 418515
Al-anon Provides support to anyone whose life is or has been affected by another person’s drinking, whether that person is still drinking or not.
In Gloucestershire there are currently local groups in Gloucester, Stroud and Cheltenham. Please visit the website for details on groups.
Telephone: 020 7403 0888
CGL This is a free and confidential drug and alcohol treatment service for adults (including offenders), families, caregivers and others.
They are based at:
- Imperial Chambers, 41-43 Longsmith Street, Gloucester
- Bramery House, Alstone Lane, Cheltenham
- Bankfield House, 13 Wallbridge, Bath Road, Stroud
You can call them on 01452 223014 or email [email protected]
Consistent with previous years, the rate of alcohol-related deaths among men was more than double the rate among women (19.0 and 9.2 deaths per 100,000 people respectively).
Scotland had the highest rate of alcohol-related deaths in 2020 at 21.5 per 100,000 people.
Death rates were highest for people aged 55 to 59, at 33.8 per 100,000 people, with rates for people aged 50 to 69 all double the overall rate of 14.0 per 100,000. 100,000.
Jon Murray, executive director of drug, alcohol and mental health charity With You services, said: “Today’s new data shows the tragic impact of what happens when people who need help with alcohol do not have access to treatment or support.
“While there is no single reason for this extremely worrying trend, the financial pressures and social isolation caused by the lockdown, including the increased difficulty in accessing treatment services, is a perfect storm when it comes to harmful consumption.
“With health services overworked to tackle the pandemic and the backlog it is causing, some people might also be reluctant to seek help worrying about putting additional strain on the system.
“Seniors continue to be a vulnerable group when it comes to harmful drinking habits, which underlines the importance of tailoring services to the needs of this particular group, otherwise their engagement will be compromised.”
Previous research from With You has shown that by the end of last year, more than half of those over 50 were drinking at a level that could cause health problems now or in the future, with nearly one in four classified as high risk or potentially dependent.
As part of its 10-year drug strategy, the government has announced £ 780million to rebuild the drug treatment system, with every local authority in England receiving additional funding to tackle drug abuse and d alcohol over the next three years, with the most needy areas receiving additional funding. first
With You offers a multitude of tips on its website. Anyone concerned about their own or someone else’s alcohol consumption can also speak anonymously to a trained counselor via www.wearewithyou.org.uk