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by Louise Wilson
29 August 2023
Alcohol deaths rise to 1,276

Alcohol deaths rise to 1,276

The number of alcohol-related deaths has increased, with 1,276 Scots dying in 2022.

This is up by 31 from the year before and is the highest since 2008.

More men (836) than women (440) suffered an alcohol related death, continuing a trend seen in previous years, though female deaths saw an increase from last year while male deaths remained static. 

People from the most deprived areas of Scotland are 4.3 times more likely to die from alcohol than those from the wealthiest parts.

Drug and alcohol minister Elena Whitham described the deaths as a "tragedy" and pledged to do more to reduce the number.

She said: "While we will need to better understand the reasons for this increase in deaths, I will do all I can to reduce alcohol-related harm. 

"We will continue to work closely with Alcohol and Drug Partnerships (ADPs) and the third sector to address this public health priority, backed by substantial investment. 

"This year £113m will be made available to ADPs to support local and national initiatives ensuring that local services can respond to local needs."

Alcohol-related deaths are higher in Scotland than in the rest of the UK (using 2021 figures for rUK as 2022 figures have not yet been published) but that gap has narrowed over the last two decades.

The mortality rate was higher than the Scottish average in the health board areas of Western Isles, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and Lanarkshire.

Charity Alcohol Focus Scotland has labelled the increase "completely unacceptable". 

As well as calling for an increase to minimum unit pricing, deputy chief executive Laura Mahon said: "The Scottish Government must deliver on the commitments made in the 2018 alcohol strategy. This includes a strong focus on preventing people from developing alcohol problems in the first place alongside urgent action to combat the 40% reduction in access to specialist alcohol services over the last decade."

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