Alcohol-specific deaths among women reach record high

Death rates among women in the UK owing wholly to alcohol have reached the highest levels since current records began in 2001, figures have showed.

In 2017 women died due to alcohol at a rate of 8.0 per 100,000 females, the Office for National Statistics said.

The dangers of alcohol

The dangers of alcohol

The last time the rate was this high among women was in 2008, when it reached 7.9 per 100,000 - but death rates among men continue to be at least double the figure among women, at 16.8 per 100,000.

By comparing the four countries of the UK, Scotland continues to have the highest rate of alcohol-specific deaths, at 20.5 per 100,000 people.

However, looking at long-term trends, Scotland is the only country which has seen a statistically significant decrease since 2001, with a 21% reduction.

Northern Ireland has seen the largest difference in the rate since 2001 compared with the other UK countries, with a 40% increase in alcohol-specific deaths.

There were 7,697 deaths due to alcohol in the UK in 2017, similar to the highest levels recorded in 2008.

With regard to age, death rates were highest among 60 to 64-year-olds in 2017, at 29.7 per 100,000, overtaking 50 to 54-year-olds, who had the highest rate in 2001 at 25.1 per 100,000.

Karen Tyrell, executive director of external affairs at Addaction, a mental health, drug and alcohol charity, said: "We know alcohol is an issue for over-50s and we need to do a lot more to reach this group in a way that works for them. For older drinkers, alcohol often creeps up and gradually plays a more central role in day-to-day life.

"The people we work with frequently talk about alcohol as a way to deal with loneliness, isolation, and the sense of loss that sometimes comes with retirement and move into a new phase of life."

She added: "The good news is that everyone can change their relationship with alcohol. Thousands of us do it every month. There's no 'right' way to do it. Everyone's journey is different and worthwhile. If you need help or support, reach out."