Alcohol and Drugs
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Mortality & Morbidity


Key Facts

  • Alcohol related death rate in UK rising.
  • Alcohol causes 3.2% of all deaths or 1.8 million deaths annually and accounts for 4 % of disease burden, [Office for National Statistics 2008].
  • Death rates from cirrhosis of the liver are doubling, average age of sufferer becoming younger, [Leon and Mc Cambridge2006 cited in Harrington-Dobinson and Blows, 2006]   
  • The UK has the third highest rates for binge drinking in Europe, [Anderson and Baumberg2007 cited in Dawood, 2008].
  • Binge Drinking 29% girls / 26% boys 15-16 years, [Hibell et al 2004 cited in Trumen 2006].

Alcohol related injuries and deaths

  • 50-73% of assault victim injuries
  • 50% of all serious road injuries
  • 47% of serious injuries
  • 30% of injuries to pedestrian victims of road accidents
  • 1 in 4 deaths young men 15-29
  • 1 in 10 deaths young women 15-29 in European union is caused by violence and/or road traffic accidents often precipitated by alcohol, [WHO2007].


  • The rates of drug misuse and its associated morbidity and mortality in the UK are among the highest in the western world
  • Drug-related deaths due to overdose in the UK are among the highest in Europe.
  • Drug misuse is more common in areas of social deprivation.
  • Heroin is the most common main problem drug amongst adults although most drug misusers use a range of drugs and alcohol.
  • 21% of injecting drug users are thought to be infected with hepatitis B in the UK and 50% with hepatitis C.
  • 1.3% of injecting drug users in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are HIV- positive
  • HIV prevalence is thought to be increasing and shared injecting equipment is thought to be responsible.
  • Drug misuse has a serious impact on the families of the drug misusers, especially children of drug-using parents, (EMIS2010).

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