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Alcohol related deaths in Scotland reach highest figure since 2008

By Gavin Musgrove

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A total of 1,245 people died last year from conditions caused by alcohol in Scotland, according to latest figures published by National Records of Scotland.

The number of deaths is five per cent (55) higher than 2020 and is the highest number of deaths since 2008.

More detailed analysis shows the rate of mortality from alcohol-specific causes was 22.3 deaths per 100,000 people in 2021.

Whilst this is higher than the 21.5 deaths per 100,000 in 2020, it is not a statistically significant increase, and remains below the peak rate of deaths from alcohol in 2006.

Of those who died from alcohol-specific causes, two thirds were male.

The average age of deaths of those who died from these causes was 58.7 years for females and 59.7 years for males.

Julie Ramsay, Vital Events Statistician at NRS, said: “Health inequalities are a feature of alcohol-specific deaths. Deaths attributed to alcohol were 5.6 times as likely in the most deprived areas of Scotland compared to the least deprived areas.

"This is more than the deprivation gap for all causes of death, which is 1.9. Two-thirds of those who died last year were male.”

In the past five years, after adjusting for age, the rate of mortality from alcohol-specific deaths was higher than the Scottish average in Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Lanarkshire health board areas.

Rates were also high in Western Isles Health Board, but the difference with Scotland as a whole was not statistically significant.

The NRS is a non-ministerial department of the devolved Scottish Administration. It is responsible for producing statistics on Scotland’s population.

The publication Alcohol-specific Deaths 2021 is available here.

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