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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Latest figures reveal alcohol related deaths increased by 45.9% in NI over decade

Alcohol bottles

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) has today published figures for alcohol-specific deaths registered in Northern Ireland, 2012-2022.

The definition of alcohol-specific deaths includes conditions known to be exclusively caused by alcohol and excludes conditions which may only be partially attributed to alcohol use.

Latest figures show that there were 356 registered alcohol-specific deaths in 2022. This was six more than the previous year and accounted for 2.1% of all deaths registered in 2022.

Number of alcohol-specific deaths in NI by Health Trust, 2022

Above: Number of alcohol-specific deaths in NI by Health Trust, 2022

It is important to note that registration-based figures build in delays arising from system wide processes which can drive annual fluctuations in the series. Over the decade, NI has seen deaths due to alcohol-specific causes rise by 45.9%.

In 2022, almost two-thirds (65.2%) of the 356 deaths were male. Males have consistently accounted for more such deaths each year, than females, accounting for 66.5% of alcohol-specific deaths registered between 2012 and 2022.

The alcohol-specific death rate (adjusted for age) for males in 2022 was 26.1, nearly twice the rate for females, which stood at 13.2 deaths per 100,000 population. The data further indicates that between 2012 and 2022, the corresponding alcohol-specific mortality rate for males increased by 32.5%, from 19.7 to 26.1 per 100,000. The rate for females also saw a 33.3% increase from 9.9per 100,000 13.2 per 100,000.

Map of NI showing alcohol-specific death rates by Local Government District, 2022

Above: Map of NI showing alcohol-specific death rates by Local Government District, 2022

Alcohol-specific deaths continue to be more prevalent among the 45-54 and 55-64 age groups, which together accounted for 55.1% of all alcohol-specific deaths registered in 2022; however, this represents a decline when compared with the average across the combined years of 2012-2022 (63.5%).

Since 2012, alcoholic liver diseases have accounted for, on average, two thirds of alcohol-specific deaths, increasing from 62.3% in 2012 to 72.5% in 2022. 

Mental and behavioural disorders due to use of alcohol has consistently been the second most common cause of death among alcohol-specific deaths in NI over the same period, accounting for 19.7% of alcohol-specific deaths in 2022.

In 2022, the Belfast Local Government District (LGD) had the highest age-standardised rate of alcohol-specific deaths of all the LGDs in Northern Ireland at 30.1 per 100,000 population, followed by Derry City & Strabane at 28.1 alcohol-specific deaths per 100,000. The lowest rate in 2022 was recorded for Causeway Coast and Glens at 9.6 alcohol-specific deaths per 100,000. 

Looking at the most recent five years together (2018 to 2022), there were over three times as many alcohol-specific deaths in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived areas.


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