Alcohol deaths highest for 20 years in... - British Liver Trust

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Alcohol deaths highest for 20 years in England and Wales

Richard-Allen profile image
Richard-Allen

I'm not sure if anyone has been watching the BBC lunchtime news or not, but the latest set of figures this morning released by the office of national statistics states that, provisional data for England and Wales show there were 7,423 deaths (13.0 per 100,000 people) from alcohol-specific causes registered in 2020, a 19.6% increase compared with 2019 (6,209 deaths; 11.0 per 100,000 people) and the highest annual total in our time-series (beginning in 2001): : bbc.co.uk/news/health-57008067

This sadly doesn't come as a shock to me, as many will be seeking solace due to Covid-19 restrictions. However, this will mean not only an increase in the £3.5 billion cost to the NHS, but will also add longer wait times for those people who may have serious nonalcohol-related liver conditions

Where do we go from here?

39 Replies
Trust1 profile image
Trust1Administrator

Thank you for sharing Richard.

While it's still glamourised & TV cookery programmes keep promoting which wine goes best with which dish, and while Phil and Holly have all the cocktails lined up and sipping and giggling and discussing what their favourite tipple is and while all the soaps are centred around the local pub, the answer is alcohol is going nowhere.I dont ever recall such programmes discussing which brand of cigarette tastes better after a steak or fish can you? Or promoting the Benson and Hedges over the woodbines? It's time alcohol is recognised as an equally dangerous intoxicating killer and steps should be taken to drastically reduce it's sales in the same way as tabacco has been.

MLB_77 profile image
MLB_77 in reply to laura53923

You should see how much alcohol promotions are in US. Literally everywhere you go. It’s such a dark industry. It has everyone fooled. I am hoping alcohol is eventually going to looked at like cigarettes—poison.

CHRISR999 profile image
CHRISR999 in reply to MLB_77

I will show my ass in woolworths window. If that happens. 😂

SteelOwl profile image
SteelOwl in reply to CHRISR999

Since you're a male Chris, no thanks. 😳 Lol

Tuppence68 profile image
Tuppence68 in reply to CHRISR999

Which Woolworths?? 🤣

CHRISR999 profile image
CHRISR999 in reply to Tuppence68

Haha ok then primark 😁😂😂

Richard-Allen profile image
Richard-Allen in reply to MLB_77

I used to live in a place called Peebles in Ohio. Peebles was a dry area.

The problem there was that the whole community had a crystal meth problem. It was as if they had simply swapped, one bad addictive substance with another.

CHRISR999 profile image
CHRISR999 in reply to laura53923

Your wasting you breath Laura. Alcohol is in b n m. It will be in next soon maybe materland. N who knows maybe pc world. Mc Donald's sell it abroad. Its here to stay I'm afraid. Unless there hugh hugh protests. Even then will fall on def ears

laura53923 profile image
laura53923 in reply to CHRISR999

I know it will never happen. Waste of time trying and l am no protester or demonstrater l just wish the powers that be would stop turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the suffering it causes to so many 🤷🏻‍♀️

MLB_77 profile image
MLB_77 in reply to laura53923

See I disagree. I don’t mean soon, I mean many many years from now. There is a pretty big movement especially in social media that is really trying to normalize a life without alcohol. Compare those numbers to say, 10 years ago, there has been HUGE progress. Playing the tape ahead 10 years I can only see improvement.

I’m sure there was a time when it was ‘normal’ to smoke on airplanes, offices, homes, ballgames, etc that the thought of it being looked down on would NEVER happen.

CHRISR999 profile image
CHRISR999 in reply to MLB_77

10 years ago there wernt selling alcohol in b n m or McDonald's. Wheres that improving things. Quite the opposite

MLB_77 profile image
MLB_77 in reply to CHRISR999

They serve alcohol in McDonald’s there?? Yikes. To be clear, I don’t think it will ever “go away” , just be viewed differently.

I’ll go back to the example of cigarettes, stopping advertising and raising taxes, more rules in place, for beginners.

CHRISR999 profile image
CHRISR999 in reply to MLB_77

Yeah in majorca. Places like that. Places that us brits folk too. Its funny u know just seen a advert on TV for beefeater gin. Pouring the gin over ice slowly. Then through corner of my eye I saw a small piece of writing saying drink aware in the bottom right hand corner. I needed binoculars almost to make it out. Worse still it was in black font.. Haha that's really pushing the message across. Outstanding don't u think. All respect to you by the way. I'm just pointing it out😛

CHRISR999 profile image
CHRISR999 in reply to laura53923

There corruption in this world. Always has been always will be. Monies the route to all evil. That's never going to change while deep pockets exist I'm afraid

I don’t want to add fuel to this interesting debate, but back in 2020, I wrote a letter to The chairperson of “The Alcohol Health Alliance UK”. (The Alcohol Health Alliance UK is a coalition of more than 50 organisations working together to reduce the harm caused by alcohol).

In this letter, I explained that back in the 1960s a person could only buy alcohol for one of two places, a pub or an off-licence. Children weren’t allowed into pubs, and if they went into an off-licence they had to be accompanied by an adult. Back then, you couldn’t even look into a pub window as the glass was all frosted out. Children were protected from alcohol. (out of sight, out of mind).

Now 60 years on, high street trading standards have changed. Alcohol is everywhere, and peoples drinking habits have changed. Supermarkets are now the biggest seller of alcoholic drinks. These products are openly on display for all the world to see.

Supermarkets are under pressure from the major breweries to sell their products. They are offered inducements and incentives to do so. Back in 1980, 12% of all beer was sold through the Off-Trade. In 2016, 51% plus of total beer sold was through the Off-Trade, principally through supermarkets.

There are now no morals when it comes to supermarket’s trading of alcoholic drinks. Nobody seems to care anymore whatever became of morality and the protection of impressionable young children.

I had hoped that the Alliance would get behind a campaign to bring back some morality into UK alcohol trading laws. Sadly I never received a reply.

I have just been over to The Alcohol Health Alliance website, and see that on the 27th of April, a debate about alcohol labelling took place in Westminster. I certainly didn’t know of this, and looking at the members in the chamber so didn’t a lot of people. It looks like there was just four MP’s present. Dan Carden MP, who proposed the debate and just three other members. Either someone didn’t get the memo, or MP’s just aren’t interested: ahauk.org/news/mps-debate-a...

This is just for information only.

I rest my case 🤷🏻‍♀️

SteelOwl profile image
SteelOwl in reply to laura53923

My sentiments exactly Laura. Also add bbc radio 1 who's presenters (certain ones in particular) have constantly been going on about needing and pining alcohol in pubs and asking listeners throughout lockdown. Even out of lockdown, during their Friday and Saturday programs in particular presenters always repeatedly mention alcohol and ask drunk listeners to phone up and basically ask them where they are and what they're drinking! Would they do that with cigarettes or other banned drugs no! These certain bbc radio 1 presenters talk about championing mental health issues etc and at the same time are championing getting smashed binge drinking. They actually chat to listeners who are either out or at home under the influence and then next day have a program later on Sunday discussing all sorts of mental health matters. The soaps are unbelievable, written by very poor writers with hardly any imagination or common sense! So there's presenters and writers with no imagination so use the subject of alcohol to plug every gap and there's loads of them... Plus they are unqualified and clueless to either talk or write about mental health issues or matters... Michael

laura53923 profile image
laura53923 in reply to SteelOwl

Spot on Michael. Have you written to them about it ? Is it even worth it? I am sure the reaction would be ... "Yeah yeah woteva" .... click, delete !! x

SteelOwl profile image
SteelOwl in reply to laura53923

I have sent tweets to bbc radio but yes, they never answer back... Yet on other matters such as race and sexuality they are extremely strict and constantly go overboard so that no-one gets offended and left out irrespective of what talent or knowledge they have. The Soaps are exactly the same. Michael

laura53923 profile image
laura53923 in reply to SteelOwl

Message below... l sent to str8jacket instead of in reply to you

Or people could be more responsible for their own choices, just like cigarettes there is a wealth of information today about the ill affects of too much of any substance classed as addictive. People do have a choice on what they consume or take. I feel so bad for anyone with any kind of illness especially if it’s not lifestyle related but, many many people who smoke and drink are well aware of the perils and choose to do to anyway.

What do you think the future is for liver disease and transplantation, will there be more treatment available for liver disease patients or more research. I feel like alcohol is getting worse as I’m only 21 and most of my friends were drinking when they were 13 with parents permission and have since and a lot of my generation will drink excessively every weekend (before covid) so I feel like it will getting even worse rather than better. It makes me wonder about the future for liver disease patients like myself.

laura53923 profile image
laura53923 in reply to AMDA26

Yes there are vast improvements and studies into curing liver disease, but surely prevention, where it can be prevented, is better than cure and by removing one if the biggest causes of liver disease, it would save thousands of lives and billions of pounds to the NHS

AMDA26 profile image
AMDA26 in reply to laura53923

Yes I completely agree however I think the main cause is alcohol and it’s become so normalised in people of my age and it’s so easily accessed and it’s becoming the norm to drink younger than ever and it’s definitely concerning

Richard-Allen profile image
Richard-Allen in reply to AMDA26

One day, liver transplants will be a thing of the past. Stem cell specialist cells will rejuvenate a cirrhotic liver. This is a pretty remarkable video: youtu.be/Ypvjlm5fYxo

It's wonderful, but probably will not help anyone who is sick with liver disease now or on their way to such disease. The past 20 years are full of predictions of how a new technological approach will revolutionize liver medicine and make transplants a thing of the past.

Str8jacket profile image
Str8jacket in reply to AMDA26

From what I have seen (check clinicaltrials.gov) there are very few promising therapies for end-stage liver disease or even for compensated cirrhosis in the works, if any. The most likely meaningful advances will probably come from addressing some of the more devastating complications of cirrhosis, especially portal hypertension and its accompanying nasties.

Another type of red herring to watch out for--articles claiming some new technique reversed cirrhosis in rats or mice (whether through deugs or cell therapy). These come out relatively often, seem like a convenient way for researchers to publish highly visible articles, but have not yielded any therapies for patients and indeed often do not even lead to clinical trials. A quick search through publications of the past two decades will yield many such cases. It's very disappointing to see a promising study in rats that never made it to human trials, but it happens often.

One of the problems is that rats make for good test subjects, but they are poor models for human physiology when it comes to liver injury and regeneration. Induction of cirrhosis and its reversal is often a matter of weeks in these studies, entirely unlike liver scarring in humans which develops over years or decades.

There is some research/money from Big Pharma into NAFLD/NASH. As these conditions, especially NAFLD, are often entirely reversible with lifestyle changes and are often undetected until liver failure kicks in (liver disease is known as the silent killer), this research is not likely to help the most sick/desperate any time soon. As a business model of course, it makes perfect sense.

In the meantime, alcohol companies make record profits while everyone pays--not just those who suffer from devastating liver disease.

AMDA26 profile image
AMDA26 in reply to Str8jacket

Yes you may be correct however I think for a lot of liver patients it’s not necessarily the urgency of finding a cure or more treatment options but more of the fact that it’s pleasing to here that it is being taken more seriously or researched more as I suppose it adds hope for the future of liver disease patients whether that be ourselves or the next generation. It is definitely concerning to me that numbers are rising for alcohol related liver issues as although I am quite healthy as of right now as a 21 year old but I do wonder for the future if I were to need a transplant in a few years or longer how many more adults are needing liver transplants too and are on the list as well.

Str8jacket profile image
Str8jacket in reply to AMDA26

You'll have to compete not just with alcoholic liver patients, but also NASH patients, which is quickly becoming an epidemic its own right given growing obesity/diabetes rates.

I wouldn't agree that liver disease/failure is being taken very seriously by the research world. There are occasional "wow, that's cool research" moments, but no concerted effort to find cures or treatments for end stage liver disease. Very few research projects being trialled are likely to have any effect on that stage of the disease, which of course is when transplantation comes into play. While there are some fantastic and dedicated researchers, there aren't that many of them for the magnitude of the problem.

Given that many people with liver issues will never know they are at risk until their livers start failing, most treatments for NAFLD (the bulk by far of research, aimed more at an easier moneymaking target) will simply not benefit directly anyone with a failing liver. There may be indirect benefits by reducing the rate of growth of transplant candidates down the road, but given the already low chances of any patient being lucky enough to receive a TX and the fact that many undetected NASH and ALD cases are coming down the pipeline, not sure that that effect will mean much.

Lest you think I'm doomsaying too much, run a Google search for reversing cirrhosis in rats or something like that. You'll find heaps of news releases and published scientific articles going back at least two decades. Still no clinical results (indeed, few trials) to show for all that fanfare.

Heck, even with existing drugs like statins, which have had some promise in addressing portal hypertension (major driver of cirrhosis mortality) and have been discussed for the better part of a decade, you'll see that research and trials have moved at a glacial pace and have yet to produce any clinically useful conclusions.

Cell stem therapy sounds hopeful.

The problem of liver disease is only growing, especially when you factor in NASH. The solution need not be to ban alcohol, but it can be market-based. Price alcohol to take into account all of the societal costs that result from it--use the proceeds of that revenue to fund breakthrough liver research. A solution would be found soon (even if not soon enough for those sick now), and the benefits would likely be translatable to all sorts of organ failure diseases.

And the effort should break down silos, much like the efforts against COVID saw tremendous cooperation and amazingly quick progress.

Some goverment mathematician will have worked out that massively reduced sales of tobacco has left a huge dent in revenue which has to be made up somehow. Solution .... increase alcohol sale. More advertising, make it even more easily accessible during lockdown, make everyone believe it is essential for helping them through lockdown. Demonstrate how to use it in cooking, every programme on TV must amplify the desire, lust and need for it. Ignore anything which shows alcohol in a bad light .. just gloss over it, no one will notice, just make sure you keep pushing it out there.( Oh and Phil will tell you don't worry about a hangover cos milk thistle will fix that😡)

It's a miracle !! ......revenue has shot through the roof, plenty for the NHS to sort out the needs of those silly people who fell for our trick and a few less thousand people who won't need treating cos it killed them !!

I don't know that revenue has truly shot through the roof--if one looks at the expenses that come from an epidemic of liver disease (healthcare costs, people taken out of the work force in the prime of their lives, all the effects on families of those sick) I suspect the costs ro government far outweigh the revenues. Hence, that part of the equation should be reexamined. If it's not, we're (same problem in US) just letting alcohol companies make tremendous profits off of society as a whole. It's not just the drinkers (I was one) who are paying to make the alcohol companies rich.

Richard the figures are shocking and like most comments so far, like cigerettes we need to stop advertising and put the shocking pictures on the bottles rather than making wine and gin bottles look like work of art. On a positive note, to all here who have stopped drinking and like me have made a promise to never drink alcohol again as per our Transplant pledge and have managed that during the last year a big Well Done!

I live in Vancouver Canada and have non-alcoholic liver disease. I was a social drinker all my life but no more alcohol for me.. I bartended for a few years and served a lot of Brits and Irish, they were the regulars, came in every day, could set your watch by them and what I noticed is that pubs seem to be their second home. They also drank beer all the time and lots of it. They didn’t order fancy or trendy drinks or shooters. Don’t get me wrong, we have lots of our own alcoholics as well but the drinking pattern was a little different from the Brits who just seem to hammer back the same beer over and over. My point is it seems like they grew up watching their fathers drink like this and the behavior perpetuates itself over and over. They would tell me how much their fathers drank but did not appear to see anything wrong with it. Perhaps educating people somehow might help by making them see that being drunk everyday is not cool and does not set a good example for your kids. You’ll never get rid of the booze so it’s the people that have to change their drinking habits.

Thought I would add this bit about dramatic increases in liver disease among young American women to the conversation. I'm afraid we are just seeing the tip of an iceberg.

npr.org/sections/health-sho...

MLB_77 profile image
MLB_77 in reply to Str8jacket

I’ve heard her on a few podcasts. Pretty powerful story. She was a whiskey girl.

But yes. The article saying alcohol related disease for woman on the rise is so true. I HATED seeing memes about mommy wine culture to help take care of kids during the pandemic.

Even wine in the school section. WHAT! So not funny.

I’ve had the thought in the back of my mind about quitting drinking for a few years but When the pandemic hit is when I started taking long looks at myself and doing self reflection. Didn’t want to try homeschooling hungover, impatient and grumpy.

Life is so much better when you don’t give into the lies of alcohol/poison.

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