The number of alcohol-related deaths in England and Wales, which rose throughout the 1980s and 1990s, has continued to rise in more recent years. Numbers increased from 5,970 in 2001 to 6,580 in 2003. Death rates per 100,000 population also increased, from 10.7 in 2001 to 11.6 in 2003.
Alcohol-related deaths are now much more common for males than females. In 2003 males accounted for almost two thirds of the total number of deaths. The male death rate, at 15.8 deaths per 100,000 population, was twice the rate for females (7.6 deaths per 100,000 population).
Alcohol-related death rates, by Government Office Region in England and Wales, 2001 to 2003
There were very different rates of alcohol-related deaths in the English regions and Wales in 2001-2003. The highest rates were found in the North West and North East and the lowest ones in the East of England, South West and South East. The rate for the North West was almost double that for the East of England (15.1 and 7.7 deaths per 100,000 population respectively). The West Midlands, London and Wales also had rates which were above the average for England and Wales.
Of the ten local authorities with the highest alcohol-related death rates for males, five were in the North West, with the highest in Blackpool. The rate there was 43.9 deaths per 100,000 population, almost three times the national average. Of the ten local authorities with the highest female death rates, six were in the North West. However the highest rate for females was in Corby in the East Midlands (20.3 deaths per 100,000 population), almost three times the national average.
Source: Office for National Statistics
Notes: Rates presented are age-standardised using the European Standard Population.
Alcohol-related deaths include those causes regarded as most directly due to alcohol consumption. Apart from deaths due to accidental poisoning with alcohol, this excludes external causes of death, such as road traffic deaths & other accidents, & alcohol-related suicides & homicides.
Trends in alcohol-related deaths in England and Wales from 79 to 00 were published in an article in Health Statistics Quarterly (HSQ) 17 in 03. This article lists the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes used in the ONS definition of alcohol-related deaths. From 79 to 00 deaths were coded using the Ninth Revision of the ICD (ICD-9). From 01 deaths have been coded using the Tenth Revision (ICD-10).
Rates from 01 are not directly comparable with those for earlier years because of the change from ICD-9 to ICD-10.