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Home > Alcohol-specific deaths in Northern Ireland: socio-demographic analyses.

Hughes, John and IJpelaar, Jos and McAuley, Rita and Lyness, Deborah (2021) Alcohol-specific deaths in Northern Ireland: socio-demographic analyses. Belfast: Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

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Key Findings

  • Between 2001 and 2019, male (m) mortality rates for alcohol-specific deaths have been approximately two times higher than female (f) rates. However, mortality rates for females have risen more sharply than for males since 2001, both where alcohol is the underlying cause of death (+41% m, +64% f) and where it is a contributory cause (+76% m, +124% f)
  • Since 2001, the greatest increases in alcohol-specific death rates (combined underlying and contributory causes) were in persons aged 55-64 years (+64% m, +109% f) and in persons aged 65 and above (+92% m, +90% f).
  • For contributory alcohol deaths in younger persons (aged 16-44 years), the main underlying causes of death were drug-related (38%) and transport accidents (18%). Older adults (aged 45+ years) with alcohol as a contributory factor in deaths had most commonly a chronic condition as the underlying cause of death e.g. circulatory (29%) and respiratory illness (16%).
  • There was notable geographic variation in alcohol deaths (combined underlying and contributory causes) with higher age-standardised mortality rates (ASMRs) (per 100,000) in Belfast (59.9) and Derry and Strabane (49.2) Local Government Districts.
  • There was a five-fold greater alcohol-specific (combined underlying and contributory causes) ASMR in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived areas.
  • Alcohol deaths (combined underlying & contributory causes) are observed across a range of socio-economic groups, however, after taking account of other factors, the most at-risk groups are those in households without access to a car, males, those living alone having been separated/divorced or widowed, and persons aged 45-64 years.
  • After taking into account other factors, an excess risk of alcohol death (combined underlying and contributory causes) was associated with urban residence (22%) and with an indication of mental illness (20%).
  • Females aged 65-74 years (compared to females aged 16-44 years) had a 42% reduced likelihood of alcohol death while males aged 65-74 years had a 23% increased likelihood of alcohol death (compared to males aged 16-44 years).

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