Alcohol Related Deaths At All Time High

Annual 2021 Alcohol-Specific Deaths statistics

Annual 2021 Alcohol-Specific Deaths statistics

The latest figures published today by NISRA show that there were 351 alcohol-specific deaths in 2021. This is the joint highest on record with the previous year.

Alcohol-specific deaths are deaths resulting from health conditions that are a direct consequence of alcohol misuse.

351 of the 17,558 registered deaths in 2021 were due to alcohol-specific causes.

This is 53.9% higher than the number recorded 10 years ago (228). There has been a general upward trend in the number of alcohol-specific deaths since 2001, with the most notable rises in the number of deaths happening between 2014 and 2015 (from 219 to 282) and between 2018 and 2019 (from 284 to 336).  

Looking at the most recent five years together (2017 to 2021), there were almost four times as many alcohol-specific deaths in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived areas.

In 2021, 226 (64.4%) alcohol-specific deaths were males and 125 (35.6%) were females.

2021 has seen the second highest annual number of male alcohol-specific deaths recorded in Northern Ireland, after the 2020 total of 233.

However, the alcohol-specific death rate (standardised for age) decreased for males but increased for females between 2020 and 2021.

The rate for males decreased from 26.9 per 100,000 males to 25.6, and for females, the equivalent rate increased from 12.9 per 100,000 females to 13.4 (the second highest rate after 13.6 in 2019).  

The majority of those who died with alcohol-specific underlying causes each year since 2011 have been in the 45-54 and 55-64 age groups, together accounting for between 59.2% and 68.0% of all alcohol-specific deaths each year.

In recent years, the proportion of those who died from alcohol-specific causes that are aged 55-64 has generally increased. In 2021, however, this age group accounted for a third of such deaths (33.3%), a decrease from 36.5% of deaths in 2020; while those aged 45-54 accounted for 29.6% of the total.

The alcohol-specific deaths registered in Northern Ireland statistics can be found at:


Don’t be a statistic – if you have an alcohol-related illness, contact your GP or health professional immediately.