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Alcohol-related deaths reach 12-year high in Scotland Published Date: 18/08/2021

It has been reported there were 1,190 alcohol-specific deaths in 2020 – a increase of 17 per cent on the previous year.

  • The areas most affected were Glasgow City and Inverclyde.
  • The rate of alcohol deaths in the more deprived areas was more than four times that of the least deprived areas last year.
  • There were also more than twice as many deaths in men (826) than in women (364).

Public health minister Maree Todd said lockdown had led to people who were drinking heavily consuming even more alcohol saying “Although alcohol consumption in Scotland dropped in 2020, evidence from various surveys has shown those who were drinking heavily before the pandemic were more likely to increase their drinking during lockdown, thereby increasing their risk of harm,”.

Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said:

“Last year we saw a positive reduction in the number of deaths caused by alcohol.

"This sudden increase of 17 per cent is devastating to see and a tragedy for everyone affected. It is a stark reminder that we cannot afford to take our eye off the ball where alcohol harm is concerned.

“Scotland has made good progress in addressing the problems we have with alcohol by introducing policies like minimum unit pricing, which is showing promising results.

"Yet the impact of the pandemic threatens to undermine this progress. Many people, particularly heavier drinkers, have reported that they have increased their drinking during the last 18 months.

"The effects are felt most by those living in our poorest communities, who are eight times more likely to die due to alcohol.”