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Rise in number of alcohol-related deaths

Monday, February 1st, 2010 Rise in number of alcohol-related deaths

The number of alcohol-related deaths has more than doubled since the early 1990s, according to official figures.

In 2008, 9,031 people died as a result of alcohol consumption, whereas alcohol was blamed for 4,023 deaths in 1992. This rise is despite an increase in awareness of the damage alcohol can do.

The figures also revealed that men are twice as likely to die from alcohol as women and that the male death rate has increased from 9.1 per 100,000 in 1991 up to 18.7 per 100,000 in 2008.

Rates of alcohol-related deaths in the UK have doubled from 6.7 per 100,000 people in 1992 to 13.6 per 100,000 in 2008, according to an Office for National Statistics (ONS) report.

Between 2007 and 2008, the number of people who died from alcohol abuse increased 3.5%.

The Tories said that the most recent statistics highlight Labours failure to tackle binge-drinking, while alcohol awareness charity Drinkaware called the latest figures “shocking”.

Chris Sorek, chief executive of Drinkaware, which is funded by the alcohol industry, said: “It’s shocking to discover that alcohol-related deaths are again on the increase, and it’s vital now, more than ever, that we act to reduce the harms caused by drinking too much. With more and more people dying from alcohol misuse it’s essential we change people’s relationship with drinking, and education has a key role to play.”

Andrew Lansley, shadow health secretary, said: “These worrying figures are a sad indictment of our broken society and demonstrate Labour’s complete failure to tackle binge-drinking. Labour’s irresponsible decision to roll out 24-hour drinking on our towns and communities while at the same time failing to deal with the problems caused by over-drinking has caused great harm, particularly amongst younger people.”

A spokesman from the Department of Health said: “We are going to be looking closely at the increase in the number of alcohol-related deaths at a time when the amount people are drinking is reducing. No one thing will solve the complex challenge of alcohol abuse, which is why the Government is taking action on all fronts including better information, banning irresponsible promotions (such as women drinking for free) and treatment, advice and support.”

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