Every year the Office for National Statistics (ONS) report on the number of alcohol related deaths. In 2014, there were 8,967. But how does this compare to previous years? And are there any trends you should be aware of. We asked our Director of Research and Impact, Dr John Larsen, to explain.
- There were 8,967 alcohol-related deaths in 2014
- The majority of these (65%) were male
- Alcohol-related deaths were highest among 55 to 64 year olds
- Scotland has the highest number of alcohol-related deaths, both for males and females
- Alcohol-related deaths are significantly higher in the north of England compared to the south
There were 8,967 alcohol-related deaths in 2014
The ONS report on the number of alcohol-related deaths is released every year so they can see how alcohol impacts on the UK population. This year’s report shows that alcohol-related deaths have fallen since 2008, which seems like good news, however there are still more than in 1994.
Our Director of Evidence & Impact, John, explains the trends:
“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 says.
“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.”
Why are 65% of alcohol-related deaths men?
Men made up 65% of alcohol-related deaths in 2014 (with a rate of 19.4 deaths per 100,000).
However, this doesn’t mean women aren’t affected. Evidence suggests that alcohol-related deaths for women in England and Wales were significantly higher in 2014 than they were 20 years ago.
This report raises further concerns over alcohol-related deaths in the north of England and Scotland too. Scotland has the highest rates for both men and women, while deaths in the north of England are significantly higher than the south.
John said this could be because of a combination of factors “including higher consumption levels amongst men and different drinking habits in the north of England and Scotland.”
At what age are alcohol-related deaths highest?
Alcohol-related deaths were highest among 55-64 year olds in 2014. John says this could be because damage from many years of drinking builds up. But John does say there are steps that people can take at this age to reduce the risk of health problems.
“Evidence suggests that even small reductions in alcohol intake can make a big difference to your health.
“You may also consider having several drink-free days each week, as this is a good way to cut down the amount you are drinking.”
How does this fit with new guidance?
Drink-free days are just one recommendation within the government’s new unit guidelines. They also advise men and women not to regularly drink more than 14 units per week to keep health risks from drinking to a low level.
For more information on this report please visit the Office for National Statistics.