Addaction responds to ONS Report on Alcohol Deaths in the UK

The latest ONS report shows the tragic loss last year of 7,327 men and women in the UK due to alcohol.

Most concerning is the 45% increase in the number of alcohol-specific deaths in people aged 50 and over since 2001.

Last year, there were 5,208 deaths of people aged 50-plus wholly attributable to alcohol, compared with 3,582 in 2001. Deaths in other age groups have remained fairly stable.

Mike Dixon, CEO at national charity Addaction, said: “Alcohol misuse can have devastating consequences, but getting support - no matter what your circumstances - can be revolutionary.

“The baby-boomer generation is at an age where many years of heavy drinking have led to accumulative harms and well-funded, accessible treatment, offered without stigma or judgment, is vital.”


Julie Breslin is Head of Drink Wise, Age Well – a programme led by Addaction.

 “Many of these deaths within the over 50s will be the result of many years of heavy drinking leading to accumulative health harms. It is crucial we ensure our alcohol treatment services are as accessible as possible to middle-aged and older adults, and in the current climate of cuts that this group does not fall behind.

“Around 1 in 3 older adults with a drink problem develop this in later life due to life changes such as retirement and bereavement, so there must also be a preventive approach that helps build resilience.   

“Programmes like Drink Wise, Age Well are vital as age-specific services often result in better outcomes.  

“Additionally we need government strategies on alcohol to specifically identify the needs of older adults, and for commissioners to fund services targeted at an older drinking population.”

ONS Alcohol-specific deaths in the UK: registered in 2016: