Alcohol-specific deaths


  • There were 1,245 alcohol-specific deaths in Scotland in 2021, an increase of 5% (55 deaths) on 2020. The rate of mortality for alcohol-specific deaths fell between 2006 and 2012, from 28.5 to 18.4 deaths per 100,000 people. Since then it has generally risen, but did fall in 2019.
  • The rate of mortality from alcohol-specific causes was 22.3 deaths per 100,000 people in 2021. This is not a statistically significant increase on 21.5 deaths per 100,000 in 2020.
  • Two thirds of alcohol-specific deaths were males - there were 836 (67%) male deaths and 409 (33%) female deaths. Males have generally tended to make up around two thirds of alcohol-specific deaths in Scotland.
  • After adjusting for age, the alcohol-specific mortality rate was higher than the Scottish average in Greater Glasgow and Clyde and in Lanarkshire (at health board level).
  • Alcohol-specific deaths were 5.6 times as likely in the most deprived areas of Scotland compared to the least deprived areas. This compares to a ratio of 1.9 times for all causes of death. Over time, this ratio has generally decreased (from a high 8.9 in 2002 to a low of 4.3 in 2020).


Source: Alcohol-specific deaths 2021, National Records of Scotland. 


Alcohol-related hospital admissions


  • In 2020/21 there were 33,015 alcohol-related hospital stays in general acute hospitals. This is equivalent to an age-sex standardised rate of 614 inpatient stays per 100,000 population.
  • In 2020/21, rates of alcohol-related hospital stays in Scotland were 2.3 times higher among men (851 per 100,000 population) than women (376 per 100,000 population).
  • Rates also differ by age: in 2020/21, the 55–64 year age group had the highest rate of alcohol-related hospital stays at 993 per 100,000 population.
  • In 2020/21, rates of alcohol-related stays were eight times higher in the 10% most deprived areas in Scotland than in the 10% least deprived areas.
  • In total 21,480 people were admitted to a general acute hospital with an alcohol-related diagnosis in 2020/21, meaning that some people had more than one admission in the year.


Source: The Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland's Alcohol Strategy (MESAS) monitoring report 2022.


Alcohol Harm Profiles

Problematic alcohol use has been estimated to cost the Scottish economy £3.56 billion each year. Local alcohol harm profiles detail alcohol-related measurable health trends in NHS Scotland Health Boards. Alcohol harm can affect not only individual health but also family life and public safety.