National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Alcohol deaths decrease

Alcohol deaths decrease

Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020
Demography News Release Image

The number of alcohol-specific deaths has decreased by 10%, from 1,136 in 2018 to 1,020 in 2019, according to statistics published by National Records of Scotland.  

These figures show the first substantial decrease in the number of alcohol-specific deaths in Scotland since 2012.

Other key findings show, in 2019:

  • There were 833 probable suicides, an increase of 6% on the previous year. Following a downward trend since the early 2000s, these figures show two successive annual increases in suicide deaths in Scotland.
  • There were 2,726 accidental deaths, representing an increase of 8.5%. The majority of these deaths were as a result of accidental poisonings or falls.
  • After adjusting for age, the death rate for people in the most deprived areas was 1.9 times that of those in the least deprived areas. This gap has gradually increased over time from a ratio of 1.6 in 2000.

Pete Whitehouse, Director of Statistical Services says:

“Today’s figures show a notable fall in the number of deaths due to alcohol. 

“Since our records began in 1979, there have only been three other occasions where we have seen a reduction in the number of alcohol-specific deaths of around 10% or more in a single year.

“However, although an annual decrease of this magnitude is notable, further data will be required to see if this reduction continues and whether we will see a sustained shift in alcohol-specific deaths in Scotland.”

The publication Deaths from specific causes 2019 and an infographic summary is available on the NRS website.