The report from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) shows that there were 1,276 alcohol-specific deaths in 2022, up by 31 on the previous year.

At the same time, the number of fatal overdose cases fell from 1,330 in in 2021 to 1,051 last year.

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The number of people dying as a result of alcohol in Scotland is now the highest since 2008, with males continuing to account for around two thirds of the deaths.

People living in the most deprived communities are also more than four times as likely as the most affluent to die as a consequence of their drinking, although this gap is narrowing.

Daniel Burns, Head of Vital Events Statistics, said: “Looking at the long term trend the number of deaths from alcohol-specific causes fell between 2006 and 2012 but has risen since and is now about the same as 2010 levels.

“In 2022, the average age at death for females from an alcohol-specific cause was 58.7 years and for males it was 60.0 years.”

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HeraldScotland: Alcohol-specific deaths in Scotland, from 1979 to 2022Alcohol-specific deaths in Scotland, from 1979 to 2022 (Image: NRS)

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Dr Alastair MacGilchrist, chair of SHAAP – an umbrella body of clinicians working in alcohol-related harm – said: “We are saddened to see that the number of people who lost their lives to alcohol once again increased in 2022.

“It is important to recognise that each of these 1,276 deaths represents a personal tragedy which could have been prevented.

“Scotland is facing an ongoing crisis with alcohol which requires urgent attention. We simply cannot continue to accept this level of avoidable alcohol harm as the Scottish reality.”

Laura Mahon, deputy chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: “For the third year in a row we’ve seen deaths caused by alcohol increasing.  

“This is completely unacceptable, with each of these deaths being preventable.  

“We need to be going further and faster in our efforts to reverse this appalling trend.”

More to follow

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