Northern Ireland

Alcohol deaths in Northern Ireland increase by 45 per cent over past decade

Figures from Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) reveal the rise in the number of deaths over the past decade
Figures from Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) reveal the rise in the number of deaths over the past decade (ViewApart/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The number of alcohol deaths in Northern Ireland has increased by 45 per cent over the past decade, according to new figures.

The statistics from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) show the rising number of alcohol-specific fatalities, which accounted for 356 deaths in 2022.

This marked six more than the previous year and accounted for 2.1% of all deaths registered in 2022.

Releasing the data for 2012-2022, Nisra said on Wednesday that the number of deaths due to alcohol-specific causes had increased by 45.9% over the 10 year period.

This includes conditions that are exclusively caused by alcohol and excludes those which may only be partially attributed to alcohol use.

Other figures show that in 2022, almost two-thirds (65.2%) of the 356 deaths were male.

Males 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 9.9 per 100,000 13.2 per 100,000.

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 marks 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.

This increased 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 the north over the same period, accounting for 19.7% of those deaths in 2022.

The Belfast local government district had the highest age-standardised rate of alcohol-specific deaths at 30.1 per 100,000 population.

This was followed by Derry City and Strabane at 28.1 alcohol-specific deaths per 100,000.

Alcohol-specific deaths statistics 2012-2022
The alcohol-specific deaths statistics released relate to the 10 year period of 2012-2022

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.