Britain suffers record rise in deaths from alcohol during COVID pandemic
Britain saw a record rise in the number of deaths caused by alcohol use last year, which public health officials said was linked to the wider social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some 8,974 people died of alcohol-specific causes in 2020, 18.6% more than in 2019 and the largest increase since records began in 2001, UK’s Office for National Statistics said.
Previous data from health authorities in England had shown a 21% rise in deaths from alcoholic liver disease last year. Between 2012 and 2019, alcohol death rates in the United Kingdom had been stable, the ONS said.
"The fact that mortality rates from key causes of death related to alcohol increased in 2020 suggests that an increase in alcohol harm was a wider impact of the pandemic," a public-sector body, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, said.
Pinpointing the exact factors which drove the increase in deaths would take time, the ONS said.
In line with previous years, men were more than twice as likely as women to die of alcohol-specific causes.
Liver disease was the biggest cause of alcohol-specific deaths, accounting for 78% of fatalities, followed by mental and behavioural disorders at 12% and 'external causes' such as accidental poisoning at 6%.
There is no safe level of alcohol consumption and the risk of several types of cancer increases with each unit of alcohol per day, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a report in October.
The WHO said that more than 10 percent of alcohol-attributable cancer cases in the European region arise from drinking just one bottle of beer (500 ml) or two small glasses of wine (100 ml each) every day.
The UN health agency also says alcohol consumption contributes to 3 million deaths each year globally as well as to the disabilities and poor health of millions of people.
Islam and other religions forbid alcoholic consumption and view it as sinful due to the physical, mental and spiritual harm it has on humans. In Islam, any food or drink that causes intoxication is strictly forbidden.
In the Quran, all kinds of alcoholic drinks are unlawful and referenced as incentives from the Satan.