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02.02.16

Another rise in alcohol-related deaths

Alcohol-related deaths have risen for the second year in a row, reaching 8,697, with a bigger jump among women than men.

This appears to be a reversal of the longer-term slow decline in alcohol deaths, with more people dying from alcohol-related causes at a younger age.

Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, said: “Deaths from alcohol are increasing and the age at which people are killed by alcohol is falling. The UK government says this is a public health priority, so why is the situation getting worse? It is because government continues to duck the evidence, instead of bringing in effective policies to regulate the 24 hour availability of cheap, heavily marketed drink, particularly in our supermarkets and off-licences.

“We also know that the ONS (Office for National Statistics) figures underestimate the true scale of the problem, and that alcohol has a role in many more deaths each year than the ONS figures suggest – the true figures are likely to be three times that reported by the ONS. The government and the ONS need to address this.”

This is because the figures do not include deaths that are only indirectly caused or made more likely by alcohol consumption, such as cancers of the mouth, oesophagus and liver and cases involving drink-driving, violence, and suicides.

The figures released by the ONS are a provisional estimate of alcohol deaths for 2014.

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