Alcohol deaths increase slightly

Person drinking
Image caption Small increase in alcohol deaths in men reported between 2009 and 2010.

Alcohol related deaths in the UK have increased slightly between 2009 and 2010, according to official figures.

The number of deaths linked to drinking has gone from 8,664 to 8,790 - a rise of 126.

The Office for National Statistics said the increase was due to more deaths in men.

However, the long term trends in men have been relatively stable, with a small rise in 2010 cancelling out a small fall in 2009.

Figures which take account of changes in the size and age of the UK population showed the alcohol-related death rate has hovered at around 18 deaths per 100,000 men since 2003, after earlier increases.

The number of women dying as a result of alcohol has fallen slightly between 2009 and 2010, however, the long term figures show the death rate is stable at just over eight per 100,000 for women.

Alcoholic liver disease accounted for nearly two thirds of all alcohol-related deaths in 2010.

The report said alcohol consumption had fallen since 2002, however: "Despite an apparent decrease in alcohol consumption, it is likely that it will take a number of years for any resulting reduction in alcohol-related deaths to become apparent as diseases associated with excessive alcohol consumption are often slow to develop."

The Public Health Minister for England, Anne Milton, said: "We will set out a new approach to tackling alcohol harm shortly in our alcohol strategy for England.

"As part of that, we will be giving local councils the power and the budget to help them tackle the huge variations we see in levels of harm in different regions of England.

"Before that, next month, we are launching new Change4Life adverts which, for the first time, will help people realise the damage drinking too much can do to our health."

Eric Appleby, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said: "Yet again, the figures for alcohol-related deaths show that the alcohol policies in place in England and Wales are just not having an impact in reducing alcohol harm.

"In the new Alcohol Strategy, the government must ensure that services are always available for the early identification and support of problem drinkers. They must also take notice of the evidence and bring in minimum alcohol pricing as soon as possible."

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