The number of alcohol-specific deaths in Scotland has skyrocketed 25% in five years.

Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed 1,276 people north of the border died directly from alcohol in 2022.

That’s up slightly from the 1,245 cases in 2021 but represents a 25% increase from pre-pandemic figures in 2019 when 1,020 people died.

The data shows there were 22.6 deaths per 100,000 people in Scotland in 2022, compared with 16.6 per 100,000 across Britain as a whole.

“These new figures confirm that despite the lifesaving impact of minimum unit pricing (MUP), Scotland remains in the grip of an alcohol emergency,” Alison Douglas, CEO of Alcohol Focus Scotland said.

“Changes to drinking patterns during the Covid-19 pandemic have sadly become embedded and represent a ticking time bomb of alcohol-related illness and deaths for our already over-stretched NHS.

“Every life lost due to alcohol is a preventable tragedy for individuals, families, friends and communities.”

Ms Douglas said she was particularly concerned about the increase in death rates for women.

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