Provisional figures for England and Wales, provided by a recent study, show that deaths caused by alcohol have never been higher than they were during the first nine months of 2020. Researchers have linked the sudden upsurge in alcohol-related deaths to the rise of the coronavirus pandemic.
Biggest toll recorded since records began in 2001
Between the months of January and September, 5,460 deaths were recorded as having been caused by alcohol which is a 16% increase over the same months in 2019. This has broken every record since alcohol-related death statistics started being recorded in 2001.
The Office for National Statistics provided the figures which saw the increase happen during and after the first lockdown was put in place in the UK. At its worst, numbers peaked at 12.8 deaths per 100,000 people within the first three months of 2020 and remained this high up until the month of September.
Similar to what has been recorded in the past, men were twice as likely to die from alcohol-related reasons than women were. As of now, experts are not entirely sure how the pandemic contributed to the increase so more research will have to be conducted to come to a conclusion.
ONS spokesman Ben Humberstone explained that:
The reasons for this are complex and it will take time before the impact the pandemic has had on alcohol-specific deaths is fully understood.
One specific account blames the pandemic for their increased alcohol consumption
63-year old John Slater believes that his level of alcohol intake dramatically increased during the pandemic and lockdown which he had already been struggling with in the past. He says:
I needed some way to be able to cope, to escape, and alcohol was it. I wasn't all over the place, it started as a means to cope.
I always used to spend time cooking a nice meal and would have a glass of wine, but one glass became two glasses which became three and then a bottle, two bottles, hidden bottles. Then you realise, oh hell, I have got a real problem here.