ALCOHOL-RELATED deaths recorded in Barnsley have increased by more than a third over a five-year period.

Public Health England released new figures this week, which revealed a ‘disturbing’ upward trend in the town.

The data ‘underscores the urgent need’ for comprehensive public health strategies to address this growing crisis, addiction specialists said.

Most recent statistics, which cover the period from 2018 to 2022, reveal a consistent increase in the number of deaths attributable to alcohol-related causes each year.

From the 64 deaths recorded in 2018, a total of 87 were recognised as alcohol-related in 2022, continuing the year-on-year rise throughout the period which was dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It represents a rise of 36 per cent - something which local treatment leaders say must be addressed immediately.

Dr Jane Smith, from UK Addiction Treatment Group (UKAT), said: “The consistent rise in alcohol-related deaths is alarming and indicates a pressing need for enhanced public health initiatives and support services.

“We must take a holistic approach to address the root causes of alcohol misuse and provide robust support for those affected.”

In Text Promo Image

The rise in alcohol-related mortality is an issue that reflects broader social, economic and health trends in Barnsley, according to the data.

Factors contributing to this increase may include higher levels of alcohol consumption, socio-economic stresses and limited access to effective treatment and intervention services.

The data suggests that alcohol misuse remains a pervasive issue, exacerbating existing health disparities and placing additional strain on healthcare services.

In response to the rising mortality rates, local alcohol addiction treatment centre Linwood House, a UKAT-run facility in Athersley, called for immediate action to implement more effective prevention and intervention strategies.

Lee Fernandes, lead therapist, added: “It is deeply saddening to see that, yet again, alcohol-related mortality figures are rising and they’re now the highest they’ve ever been.

“We must remember that these are not just figures - they’re somebody’s parent, child, colleague or friend.

“The increasing death toll highlights the need for a compassionate and comprehensive approach to support those struggling with alcohol dependence.

“Linwood House is an addiction treatment centre in Barnsley ready to help those suffering with an alcohol addiction.

“We encourage anyone struggling to please reach out before it’s too late.”

The number of people admitted to Barnsley Hospital for liver disease also almost doubled in the last year.

Figures show there were 435 hospital admissions for liver disease in 2022/23 - a telltale sign of alcoholism - which is up from 330 the year before.

Dr Richard Piper, chief executive of Alcohol Change UK, said: “Each one of those deaths is a tragedy, representing a person who has had their life cut short and has left behind people who are grieving and miss them every day.

“Years of inaction on alcohol harm has led to this and the heartbreaking thing is these deaths were totally avoidable.Hospital admissions related to liver disease remain at an all-time high.

“We’re also seeing continuing problems right across our health system, from GPs to A and E, from liver wards to cancer wards to alcohol treatment services.

“The health harms caused by alcohol are affecting many people every year.”