Rise in women dying in Britain due to alcohol
Study blames rise in mortality on cheaper drinks and increased availability of alcohol
The increase in the death toll among women born between 1970 and 1979 began from the late 1990s, although it was noticed in medical statistics only from 2005 on. Photograph: Eric Luke
The number of young women dying because of alcohol in Britain has doubled in the last decade or so, even though the overall trend for alcohol-related deaths in Britain is downwards.
The findings, based on a study of drinking habits in three major cities, are published in a report today by medical researchers, who blame cheaper drinks and increased availability of alcohol for the rise in deaths among women, some of them as young as 25.
The increase in the death toll among women born between 1970 and 1979 began from the late 1990s, although it was noticed in medical statistics only from 2005 on.
Similar “disproportional increases” in alcohol-linked deaths were found over the same period in Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester.
Glasgow’s figures across all age groups remain the worst in Britain, according to the findings published today by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
In Liverpool and Manchester, the number of cases doubled from about seven per 100,000 in the early 1980s to 16. In Glasgow the numbers rose from 15 per 100,000 to about 27. “It is imperative that this early warning sign in young women in the UK is acted on if deaths from alcohol are to reduce in the long term,” said the authors of the report, Deborah Shipton, Bruce Whyte, David Walsh of the Glasgow Centre for Population Health.
Despite the rise, the number of alcohol-related deaths of women in the three cities is still two to three times lower than that of men.
However, the total number of alcohol-related deaths across all age-groups has fallen since the mid-2000s.
Heart disease and stroke used to explain high death figures among those under 65 in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city. But since the 1990s, alcohol, drugs, suicide and violence have taken over.
UK mortality figures have “markedly deviated” from the experience elsewhere in Europe, where “over the last 50 years, liver cirrhosis mortality has decreased dramatically in southern and (parts of) western Europe, but has increased in both Scotland and England and Wales.
“By the 2000s, deaths in Scotland from chronic liver disease were the highest in western Europe.”