Cole-Hamilton warns government on 17% increase in alcohol-specific deaths


New statistics published today show that there were 1,190 alcohol-specific deaths in 2020, an increase of 17% on the number seen in 2019. This represents the highest number of alcohol-specific deaths registered since 2008.

The statistics also show that after adjusting for age, alcohol-specific death rates in the most deprived areas were 4.1 times more than those in the least deprived areas.

Wider statistics show that death rates for drug-related, alcohol-specific deaths, and suicides, were notably higher in the most deprived areas.

Commenting, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

“These figures make for difficult reading. They show the crushing weight of deprivation on people’s lives. I’m so sorry for every person and every family who has been let down and lost a loved one.

“People’s life chances shouldn’t be dictated by where they come from. There should be opportunity and support in every corner of Scotland. But these statistics starkly show that’s not the case.

“Today’s figures must force the Scottish Government to understand the gravity of the situation. It doesn’t need to be this way. Ministers have the power and the resource to make things better.

“This starts by treating addiction for what it is - an illness. Only be adopting a trauma informed approach to this issue, do we have any hope of seeing these numbers decline.”


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