THE number of deaths in Scotland caused by alcohol is at the highest level since 2008.

The latest figures from National Records of Scotland (NRS) show that 1245 people died due to conditions caused by alcohol in 2021. 

This marks an increase of 55 from the previous year. 

Vital events statistician at NRS Julie Ramsay said: “Deaths attributed to alcohol were 5.6 times as likely in the most deprived areas of Scotland compared to the least deprived areas.

“This is more than the deprivation gap which is 1.9.”

READ MORE: Alcohol death figures five times more likely in deprived areas, say Public Health Scotland

Statistics revealed earlier this year that alcohol-related hospital stays were nearly eight times higher amongst those in the most deprived areas. 

NRS's report also said that two-thirds of those who died were male whilst the average age sat at 59.7 for men and 58.7 for women. 

The Scottish Government has also addressed the situation with public health minister Maree Todd stating "no one should die as a result of alcohol consumption".

Todd said: "My thoughts go out to all family and loved ones affected. 

"These figures show that Scotland continues to have a problematic relationship with alcohol, and we are determined to do even more to tackle the scale of alcohol-specific deaths."

In terms of council areas, Inverclyde, Glasgow City, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, Dundee City, North Ayrshire and Renfrewshire all had alcohol-specific death rates higher than the average across Scotland. 

Todd continued: "We are working on initiatives that will support communities across Scotland to address harmful and hazardous alcohol consumption.

"These include the review of alcohol brief interventions in Scotland with Public Health Scotland, the managed alcohol programme pilot in Glasgow delivered by Simon Community Scotland and supporting the UK Government on revieweing and updating clinical guidelines for alcohol treatment."

Co-chair of the Addictions Faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland Dr Rebecca Lawrence said the statistics were “truly alarming” but that they may just be “the tip of the iceberg.”

She said: “Working on the frontline, we know alcohol-related hospital admissions remain high and the pandemic has only exacerbated the problem. 

“Minimum unit pricing has a good evidence base but should be part of a range of measures.

“It’s positive that pricing is currently being looked at again as those who are dependent continue to drink. 

“It’s key that we give this issue the same focus and important as the drug deaths crisis and address Scotland’s cultural relationship with alcohol.”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon addresses Scotland's 'unacceptable' drugs deaths crisis

Data also published by NRS in July showed that 1330 people had died last year from the misuse of drugs. 

This was down by nine on the record high of 1339 but Nicola Sturgeon still labelled the situation as an "unacceptable crisis".

The rate of mortality from alcohol-specific causes was 22.3 deaths per 100,000 people in 2021, which is higher than the previous year but below the peak rate of deaths from alcohol in 2006.

The full research conducted by NRS is available HERE.