Thursday, 8 December 2022

Drinking down, drinking deaths up

The ONS published their alcohol-specific mortality data today and it's the same depressing picture as last year. Having risen sharply in the first year of Covid, deaths rose again in 2021, presumably for the same pandemic/lockdown-related reasons. 

Two things to note about this. 

Firstly, the trends in England and Wales are basically identical in the last two years despite Wales adopting minimum pricing in the spring of 2020. The death rate in Scotland, which has had minimum pricing since 2018, continues to be much, much higher than in either of those countries.

Secondly, per capita alcohol consumption was lower in 2020 and 2021 than it was in 2019 and yet the death rate is much higher. This runs directly contrary to the whole population theory which maintains that there is a fixed relationship between the two variables, as I discussed in Lockdown Lessons in Public Health earlier this year.

Without the benefit of an expensive, government-funded computer model, I predict that alcohol consumption will rise and the number of deaths will fall in 2022.

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