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Publication, Part of

Statistics on Alcohol, England 2019 [PAS]

Official statistics, National statistics

National Statistics

Part 2: Alcohol-specific deaths

Alcohol misuse can be directly attributed to deaths from certain types of disease such as alcoholic liver disease.  This section presents information on the number of deaths that are specific to alcohol consumption.

The data source is the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which uses the new National Statistics (NS) definition of alcohol-specific deaths1.  This definition only includes conditions where each death is a direct consequence of alcohol misuse. The definition is primarily based on chronic (longer-term) conditions associated with continued misuse of alcohol and, to a lesser extent, acute (immediate) conditions. 

It is a change to previous NS definition of alcohol-related deaths. Alcohol-related deaths also included diseases where only a proportion of the deaths were caused by alcohol (that is, partially-attributable deaths), such as cancers of the mouth, oesophagus and liver.

Public Health England (PHE) produces estimates for both alcohol-specific and alcohol-related deaths at local authority level2.  Alcohol-related estimates, which include partially attributable deaths, are higher than the ONS figures for alcoholic specific deaths

More information on the impact of the new definition is available on the ONS website3

Alcohol-specific deaths


Alcohol-specific deaths – last 10 years

In England in 2017, there were 5,843 alcohol-specific deaths4.  

The number of deaths is 6% higher than 2016 and an increase of 16% on 2007.


The alcohol-specific age-standardised death rates per 100,000 population were 15.0 for males in 2017 which is over twice the rate for females (7.4).

The rates for both males and females has remained broadly similar since 2007.


Alcohol-specific deaths by age

The number of deaths increases with age up to 50-59 and then decreases.

78% of deaths were in the age range 40-69.


Alcohol-specific deaths by sex

Just under twice as many men died as women.

In total 66% of the deaths were for men.


Alcohol-specific and alcohol-related deaths by condition

Alcoholic liver disease accounted for 80% of the 5,843 alcohol-specific deaths. A further 9% were from mental and behavioural disorders due to the use of alcohol.

A further 1,659 deaths were due to unspecified hepatitis and fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver. These deaths are not defined as alcohol-specific deaths5.


Alcohol-specific deaths by region

In general, age-standardised death rates are higher in the North and lower in London and the South.


Alcohol-specific deaths by deprivation quintile

Death rates were highest in the most deprived areas and lowest in the least deprived areas.



4. A further 1,659 deaths were also due to unspecified hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver. These deaths are not included in the alcohol-specific slides because they are defined as only being partially attributable to alcohol. See annex A for more details.

5. Alcohol-specific deaths cover conditions known to be exclusively caused by alcohol (wholly attributable) and excludes conditions where only a proportion of the deaths are caused by alcohol (partially attributable).  See annex A for more details.

Last edited: 1 February 2019 2:53 pm