Drinkaware comment on alcohol-specific deaths in the UK registered in 2020

Date Published

7th December 2021




Data published today by the Office for National Statistics found that in 2020, there were 8,974 deaths (14.0 per 100,000 people) from alcohol-specific causes registered in the UK. An 18.6% increase compared with 2019 (7,565 deaths; 11.8 per 100,000 people) and the highest year-on-year increase since the data time series began in 2001. Between 2012 and 2019, rates of alcohol-specific deaths in the UK have remained stable, but a statistically significant increase was seen in 2020.

Annabelle Bonus, Drinkaware’s director for evidence and impact, said: “The devastating increase in the number of alcohol-specific deaths is stark evidence of the impact of the pandemic on people’s drinking patterns. While there’s much that still needs to be understood about the causes behind this, our research shows worrying trends from the first lockdown have continued with a third (30%) of high-risk drinkers drinking more in May than before the pandemic, suggesting that for many habits have become ingrained.* To prevent more lives being destroyed and help address inequalities the government must place alcohol harm reduction at the centre of public health priorities.”

*UK wide sample of 9,137 adults aged 18 to 85, consisting of 5,934 in England, 1,245 in Wales, 1,349 in Scotland and 609 in Northern Ireland. Fieldwork was undertaken between 11th June - 4th July 2021. The survey was carried out online. Data has been weighted to be representative of the UK adult (18-85) population according to age, gender, social grade and region. The sampling and weighting process is exactly consistent with that used in the 2017,2018, 2019 and 2020 Drinkaware Monitors.