As alcohol death rates rise, it’s time for politicians to wake up

Ailar Hashemzadeh | April 2024 | 6 minutes

There were 10,048 deaths from alcohol in 2022 in the UK – an all-time high, up 4.2% on the previous year, and 32.8% higher than when compared to 2019.

Each one of those deaths is a tragedy, representing a person who has had their life cut short and has left behind people who are grieving and miss them every day.

Years of inaction on alcohol harm has led to this, and it is heartbreaking that these deaths were totally avoidable.

We must recognise that alcohol harm is far more prevalent than we realise. This harm is affecting thousands of families, communities and society. This is why we’re urging the government to recognise the urgency to implement sensible preventive measures to stop as many people as possible from needing alcohol treatment services in the first place.

We need a whole-population approach that is proven to work such as better regulation of alcohol marketing, clearer alcohol labelling, and minimum unit pricing in England which has been shown to play a vital part in helping to reduce hospitalisations and deaths.

There is also an urgent need to offer high-quality treatment and support for all those who are struggling with their alcohol consumption. 

Our government has the responsibility and the power to put these preventative measures in place which we know will work – protecting individuals, family members, communities and society, and crucially saving lives in the future.

We need our politicians to read these statistics and wake up to the issues that are right in front of them. They need to act fast to prevent further avoidable tragedies like we’re hearing about today. With a general election on the horizon, I hope politicians discuss the urgency to implement these sensible policies to prevent alcohol harm from cutting short even more lives.