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Sixteen per cent increase in alcohol deaths

Provisional data from

the Office for National Statistics ( ONS ) for the first three quarters of 2020 show 5,460 deaths related to alcohol-specific causes , up more than 16 per cent on the same nine-month period in 2019 . While rates for Q1 are statistically similar to previous years , Q2 and Q3 show the highest increases since 2001 , says ONS , with death rates increasing significantly for 30 to 49-year-olds in Q2 and 40 to 69-year-olds in Q3 . The provisional figures were published within hours of ONS ’ official figures for 2019 , which showed a total of 7,565 deaths related to alcoholspecific causes , the second highest figure since records began 20 years ago . Death rates were highest in the 55 to 64 age range , with the male death rate consistently more than double that for females for the last two decades . Alcoholic liver disease accounted for almost 78 per cent of fatalities .
The figures only relate to conditions where a death is a ‘ direct consequence ’ of alcohol misuse , with ‘ significant ’ increases in these deaths among 55 to 79-year-olds over the past two decades . ‘ Given that the definition of alcohol-specific deaths includes mostly chronic conditions , such as alcoholic liver disease , the increased rates in the older age groups may be a consequence of misuse of alcohol that began years , or even decades , earlier ,’ says ONS . As is the case with drug-related deaths , rates were highest in the most deprived areas . For the sixth year running , England ’ s highest alcoholspecific death rates were seen in the North East – 16.6 deaths per 100,000 , more than double London ’ s rate of 7.9 .
‘ Sadly , these statistics show the impact of what happens when the majority of people with an issue with alcohol aren ’ t accessing treatment or support , especially in a country with such a heavy drinking culture as the UK ,’ said head of the Drink Wise , Age Well programme at We Are With You , Julie Breslin . ‘ While it ’ s hard to pin-point the exact reasons behind the rise , front-line services have seen how the social isolation and anxiety of living through a pandemic has led to an increase in potentially harmful drinking . At the same time people are understandably concerned about placing extra strain on health services at the current time , with many struggling alone . This picture is particularly acute for older adults , with people aged between 55 and 64 years old most likely to die of an alcohol-related cause . Many are unable to see their loved ones or friends , and are drinking more as a way to cope with increased loneliness , isolation and anxiety .’
Quarterly alcohol-specific deaths in England and Wales : 2001 to 2019 registrations and Quarter 1 to Quarter 3 2020 provisional registrations , and Alcohol specific deaths in the UK : registered in 2109 at www . ons . gov . uk

Parents feel the pressure of pandemic

PARENTS ARE TWICE AS LIKELY TO BE DRINKING MORE OFTEN since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic , according to research by alcohol charity Balance . Among people who drink , 38 per cent of those with children under 18 living at home said they were drinking more often compared to just 18 per cent of nonparents .
The survey of over 900 people also found that more than 30 per cent of parents were likely to be consuming more units on a typical drinking day compared to 17 per cent of non-parents .
' These are worrying figures .'
Parents were also more likely to admit to binge-drinking , with 44 per cent saying they did so at least monthly and 4 per cent on a daily ‘ or almost daily ’ basis . Almost half of the parents surveyed were increasingrisk or higher-risk drinkers , compared to 37 per cent of non-parents . The NSPCC has also revealed that the
' Many ... are drinking more as a way to cope with increased loneliness , isolation and anxiety .'
number of people getting in touch with concerns about drug or alcohol misuse among parents is up by 66 per cent since April 2020 , at almost 1,200 contacts a month compared to 700 a month during January to March of last year .
‘ These are worrying figures which clearly show that families and parents with children at home are feeling the pressures ,’ said Balance director Colin Shevills . ‘ Parenting is stressful to begin with but add in home schooling , juggling work with childcare and worries about the pandemic and it is a perfect storm .’
Local News
SAVING LIVES Distribution of 10,000 free naloxone kits has begun in Scotland , an initiative by manufacturers Ethypharm to address the escalating rate of drugrelated deaths . The Scottish Ambulance Service were among frontline services to welcome the move , with @ maryemunro tweeting ‘ 200 kits have arrived for me to distribute to @ Scotamservice stations throughout the North of Scotland !’
BENZO AWARE A free e-learning course on emerging trends in street benzodiazepines has been launched by SDF . ‘ Benzodiazepines , particularly if used alongside other substances , are a major contributory factor to Scotland ’ s current drug death crisis ,’ said CEO David Liddell . What ’ s happening on the streets with benzos ? at www . sdftraining . org . uk
PLUGGING IN Plug in Devon is a new online community from the Devon Together Alliance ( DTA ) – coordinated by EDP Drug and Alcohol Services – connecting people in recovery with local services , organisations and grassroots groups , and including online forums , news and personal stories . www . plugindevon . org . uk