“Sadly, the news of an almost 19% rise in alcohol-specific deaths in the UK is unsurprising. Earlier this year data from England and Scotland already highlighted a similar increase in such deaths.

Alcohol harm does not affect people equally, with men and those most deprived suffering the most in society. These deaths were predominantly among people aged 40-60, their working lives cut short by an avoidable cause. For many of these people, the stigma they face makes it almost impossible to seek treatment and support.

With the launch of the Government’s drugs strategy yesterday – which emphasises support and recovery – we must develop a complementary alcohol strategy too. Evidence-based policies such as price increases and marketing restrictions have been shown to be effective in reducing harm and cost-effective too; they are an excellent investment and will help the UK bounce back from the pandemic. If we continue to delay, more people will die from alcohol harm, and more people will be left behind without their loved ones. We must act now to work towards ending this avoidable plight.”

Dr Katherine Severi, Chief Executive, Institute of Alcohol Studies