North East has highest rate of female alcohol-related deaths in England

The North East has highest number of alcohol-related deaths among women, new figures show.
The North East has highest number of alcohol-related deaths among women, new figures show.
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The North East has the highest rate of alcohol-related deaths in England for women, according to figures published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS figures indicate that there were 8,697 deaths in the UK in 2014, the second year running that the numbers have increased.

The true number of deaths are likely to be much higher as these figures do not include deaths from drink driving, suicides, violence and a range of cancers.

The Local Alcohol Profiles for England show that alcohol contributed to 22,481 deaths in 2013, nearly three and a half times the amount reported for the same year by ONS.

While male rates of death remain significantly higher, the new figures show that more women in the North East suffered an alcohol-related death in 2014 than in any previous year in the ONS data, with three times the number of women dying from alcohol-related causes than compared to 20 years ago, an equivalent increase of 175% in the female death rate.

Alcohol-related deaths for women in the North East stand at 15.1 deaths per 100,000, compared to an England average of 9.1 deaths, meaning the North East rate is 66% higher than the national female rate.

Tragically, many of those deaths occur in working age women. Nationally, 56% of females who die from alcohol-related causes are below the age of 60.

The North East has also seen a rise in the number of male alcohol-related deaths, with more than twice as many men dying in 2014 than in 1994, an equivalent increase of 95% in the male death rate. The region has the second highest rate of alcohol-related male deaths in England.

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, said: “It is tragic that more women in the North East died from alcohol-related causes in 2014 than in any other year over the last two decades. Alcohol is a poison yet, as these figures reveal, far too many people remain unaware of the serious damage it can to do.

“People have a right to know the health risks of alcohol – even at low levels of consumption – so they can make informed choices about how much they choose to drink.

"The introduction of new recommended drinking guidelines earlier this year is a welcome step forward but clearly much more needs to be done.

“If we want enable people to make truly informed decisions about how much they drink and hopefully reduce the number of needless deaths from alcohol, then the Government needs to introduce compulsory health warning labels on alcohol products and alcohol advertising and to adequately fund mass media campaigns that make clear the very serious risks people face.

"The alcohol industry spends millions in promoting their product, with young women often the target. It is time to fight back.

“What is also worrying is that these statistics are also a relatively conservative estimate, with the true figure likely to be much higher.

"These new figures should trigger a new approach from the Government. We need a new, evidence-based strategy which tackles the problems caused by alcohol which is too affordable, too available and too heavily promoted by an industry intent on maximizing profits for its shareholders.”