Alcohol deaths in England increased by 20% in 2020

During the pandemic, sales of alcohol in supermarkets increased – as did deaths from alcoholic illnesses. / Gary Parkinson

During the pandemic, sales of alcohol in supermarkets increased – as did deaths from alcoholic illnesses. / Gary Parkinson

The number of people in England dying from alcoholic diseases increased by 20% in 2020, with alcoholic liver disease being the main cause as the pandemic has increased dangerous levels of alcohol consumption in the home.

The figures published by Public Health England (PHE) note that despite closing pubs, clubs and restaurants for 31 weeks during national shutdowns, the amount of alcohol for sale remained similar in pre-pandemic years – suggesting people were buying from stores and shops. supermarkets for drinking at home.

Indeed, the heaviest drinkers in England increased their consumption in 2020. An analysis dividing adult shoppers into five groups based on their previous purchase level showed that the most buying group increased their purchases by 14%. 3% to reach 5.3 million liters of alcohol.

This is corroborated by data from a panel of consumer buyers showing that alcohol sales in stores and supermarkets in fiscal year 2020-21 increased by 12.6 million liters, an increase 24.4% year-on-year.


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Deaths from alcohol-induced illness increased by 20% in 2020, from 5,819 to 6,893. Four in five of these deaths were due to alcoholic liver disease, which increased by 20.8% from 2019 to 2020, compared to an increase of 2.9% between 2018 and 2019.

In other findings, deaths from mental and behavioral disorders due to alcohol increased by 10.8% between 2019 and 2020, compared to an increase of 1.1% the previous year, while 33% of all alcohol-related deaths occurred in the bottom 20%. population.

“Liver disease is currently the second leading cause of premature death in working age people,” said Rosanna O’Connor, PHE director of drugs, alcohol and tobacco, “and it will only help. worsen if the COVID-19 pandemic occurs in a long-term increase in alcohol consumption.

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