Intended for healthcare professionals


Deaths from alcohol hit record high during 2020, show figures

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: (Published 03 February 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n317
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. London, UK

An urgent inquiry is needed to understand why deaths from alcohol hit record levels in England and Wales in the first nine months of 2020, experts have said.

Provisional data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) covers the period during and after the first lockdown last year.1 These show there were 5460 deaths related to alcohol specific causes registered between January and September 2020—a 16.4% increase compared with the same nine month period in 2019 (4689 deaths). Three quarters of these deaths (79.8%) were caused by alcoholic liver disease.

A peak alcohol specific death rate of 12.8 deaths per 100 000 people was …

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