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More than 330 alcohol-specific deaths in NI in 2019 – highest on record

Latest figures published today by NISRA show that the number of alcohol-specific deaths in 2019 was the highest on record, with 336 of the 15,758 registered deaths being due to alcohol-specific causes.

This is over a third (34.9%) more than was recorded 10 years ago (249), and 18.3% higher than the 2018 total of 284.

Alcohol-specific deaths (that is, deaths resulting from health conditions that are a direct consequence of alcohol misuse), account for approximately 2% of all deaths registered each year.

The figures also show that between 2018 and 2019, the alcohol-specific mortality rate increased for both males and females.

The rate for males increased from 21.2 per 100,000 males to 22.5; for females, the equivalent rate rose from 9.2 per 100,000 females to 13.1. In 2019, 210 (62.5%) alcohol-specific deaths were males and 126 (37.5%) were females. This is the highest annual number of female alcohol-specific deaths recorded in Northern Ireland.

Looking at trends over time, the majority of those who died with alcohol-specific underlying causes each year since 2009 have been in the 45-54 and 55-64 age groups, together accounting for between 59.2% and 68.5% of all alcohol-specific deaths each year.

In recent years, the proportion of those who died from alcohol-specific causes that are aged 55-64 has increased; in 2019, this age group accounted for over a third of such deaths (35.4%), while those aged 45-54 accounted for 27.1% of the total.

Looking at the most recent five years (2015 to 2019), there are notably higher numbers of alcohol-specific deaths in areas of higher deprivation across Northern Ireland, with the death rate in the most deprived areas (30.3 deaths per 100,000 population) being over three times higher than that in the least deprived areas (8.3 deaths per 100,000 population).

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