Alcohol deaths among women in 30s see 'worrying rise'

Published July 19, 2013

| AFP

Alcohol-related deaths of women born in the 1970s have "disproportionately increased" in the last decade, according to a study of three cities in England and Scotland published Friday.

Researchers called for urgent action to tackle what they said was a "worrying trend" in rising deaths from alcohol misuse by women in their 30s and 40s, unseen among men of the same age group.

The study, undertaken by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health and published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, was based on research in three cities: Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool.

It looked at all alcohol-related deaths from 1980 to 2011 among people born between 1910 and 1979.

Overall, alcohol-related deaths were three times higher in Glasgow in the late 1980s than in Manchester and Liverpool and increased in all three cities until the early 2000s when it levelled out.

Women born between 1970 and 1979 were the exception to this trend, however, with death rates continuing to rise.

Researchers said that women born in that decade were dying from alcohol-related causes at an earlier age than women born before 1970 and in "notable numbers" during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The report comes a day after the government dropped plans to introduce minimum price levels for alcohol in England and Wales.

The Scottish government wants to introducing minimum unit pricing north of the border despite a legal challenge from the Scotch Whisky Association.

Researchers urged policymakers to act to reverse the trend, saying the findings should act as a "warning signal" to prevent further tragedies.

"The similarity of trends in alcohol-related deaths in young women in Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool raises real concerns for the long-term health of this cohort in both England and Scotland," the report said.

"It is imperative that this early warning sign is acted upon. Given this increase in the younger cohort is seen in all three cities, it is hard to dismiss this as a city-specific phenomenon.

"Failure to have a policy response to this new trend may result in the effects of this increase being played out for decades to come."

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