THE North West of England recorded the highest number of alcohol-specific deaths in history in 2020 - the year of the pandemic - new figures show.

Released by the Office for National Statistics, the data reveals the alcohol death toll stands at 1,210 - an annual rise of 20 per cent from when 1,013 deaths were recorded.

Analysis, by experts UK Addiction Treatment Group (UKAT) shows the death toll has also risen by 22 per cent since records began in 2013, when just 985 people living across the North West lost their lives to alcohol.

An alcohol-specific death is categorised by certain causes of death, such as alcoholic liver disease, accidental poisoning by and exposure to alcohol, alcohol-induced acute pancreatitis and mental and behavioural disorders due to the use of alcohol, alcoholic cardiomyopathy and the degeneration of the nervous system due to alcohol, to name a few. 

Over half (794) of those who lost their lives to alcohol in 2020 were male, according to UKAT’s analysis of the figures. 

At no other time since records began in 2013 has the rate per 100,000 people living across the North West who lost their lives to alcohol been as high as it was between October and December of 2020 when it stood at 18.2. 

Year of death registration

Number of alcohol-specific deaths in the North West

















Office for National Statistics data

Nuno Albuquerque, head of treatment for UKAT, said: We must remember that these aren’t just numbers; these are people’s mothers, fathers, neighbours and friends living across the North West who have lost their lives to alcohol, people who during a global pandemic had to endure the heartache of losing a loved one to a substance so widely accepted in society. 

“2020 was an incredibly difficult year, and so it is saddening but unsurprising to see that more people than ever turned to alcohol as a coping strategy, which in these instances, caused them to lose their lives. 

“Last year we treated more people than we ever have for alcohol addiction; but these people are lucky because they got the help they needed.”

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