Thousands of people who died from alcohol related causes had no contact with treatment services, despite repeated hospital admission and A&E attendance, according to a new report.

Public Health Wales recorded the deaths of 7,901 people as dying from alcohol, either as an underlying or contributory factor, from 2005-14.

A third of these deaths were people aged under 50.

The Welsh Government echoed Public Health Wales' call for "people to recognise when their drinking may be starting to cause problems, and to seek help earlier."


Of alcohol related deaths between 2005-14, were recorded previously admitted to hospital.

The report said most alcohol deaths are the result of many years of heavy or binge drinking.

It suggested there may be a number of barriers to seeking help including the fear of being labelled or stigmatised.

Two thirds of alcohol related deaths from 2005 to 2014 were due to alcoholic liver disease, with one in five being due to fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver.

"We knew anecdotally, and now from the findings of this report, that not enough people are seeking help for their problems with alcohol", said Josie Smith at Public Health Wales.

This may be due to a range of cultural and service barriers.

Josie Smith, Programme and National Lead for Substance Misuse at Public Health Wales
Credit: PA

The report also found:

  • Of the 7,901 alcohol-related deaths between 2005 and 2014, one quarter (25 per cent) had been assessed by a specialist substance misuse treatment service at some point prior to death.

  • Of the 25 per cent assessed by a specialist substance misuse treatment service, 69 per cent were men and 31 per cent were women.

  • Of the 9,755 individuals admitted to hospital in 2005 with a condition related to alcohol consumption, 15 per cent died of an alcohol-related condition within ten years.

Alcohol misuse can have a devastating impact on individuals, their families and communities which is why we join Public Health Wales' call for people to recognise when their drinking may be starting to cause problems, and to seek help earlier. We in government are determined to tackle substance misuse head on and invest almost £50 million each year in this serious issue. Our most recent Substance Misuse Delivery Plan (2016-18), which supports our 10 year Strategy, puts an even greater focus on tackling alcohol misuse and emphasises the importance of prevention, early intervention and joined-up services.

Welsh Government Spokesman

More information can be found here.