(Bloomberg) – The British have made up for the closure of pubs, clubs and restaurants during the pandemic by drinking more at home, helping fuel an ‘unprecedented’ spike in alcohol-related deaths.
Results from Public Health England on Thursday showed stores and supermarkets sold an additional 12.6 million liters of alcohol throughout the year through March. Heavy drinkers increased their intake by 5.3 million liters, which would likely lead to a 21% increase in liver disease deaths.
“Our research suggests that the lockdown hit heavy drinkers the hardest and they drink more,” said Rosanna O’Connor, director of Public Health England. “Fighting against the harmful use of alcohol must become an essential part of the Covid-19 recovery plan. “
The number of people who reported drinking at increasing and higher risk levels increased by almost 59% during the year. Alcohol-related deaths increased by a fifth, up from a 3% increase the previous year.
Total alcohol sales were about the same from pre-pandemic levels, despite licensed sites being closed for about 31 weeks during national quarantines.
Stress, loneliness and unequal access to alcohol-related support services are among the factors behind this increase, said Pamela Healy, executive director of the British Liver Trust.
“These results are very concerning but unfortunately reflect what we heard on our helpline during the pandemic,” he said. “Those who come from the most disadvantaged areas of the country are also disproportionately affected.”
Original note: Alcohol deaths in the liver skyrocket in Britain during pandemic
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