27/10/23 Spike in alcohol-induced deaths sounds alarm

New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reveals there was a 9.1 per cent increase in the alcohol-induced death rate in 2022 – the highest rate recorded in over a decade.

The ABS Causes of Death, Australia report shows:

  • There were 1,742 alcohol-induced deaths (1,245 males and 497 females) in Australia in 2022 from causes such as liver cirrhosis and alcohol poisoning.
  • The age-standardised rate for alcohol-induced deaths was 8.7 for males and 3.4 for females, representing the highest rates in the past decade.
  • The largest numerical increase in alcohol-induced deaths from 2021 was in females aged 45-64 years (55 more deaths) and males aged 65-84 years (47 more deaths).

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s CEO, Dr Erin Lalor, said the increase in the death rate from 2021, driven by complications associated with chronic alcohol use, reiterated the need for greater action to stop the numbers rising.

“These heartbreaking deaths, which are mostly preventable, have a ripple effect on the community, with friends and families suffering. Our thoughts are with those who have been impacted,” Dr Lalor said.

“We can’t afford to further delay action to reduce these unacceptable numbers which have been increasing since 2018. Greater investment in evidence-based prevention, harm reduction, and treatment services is urgently needed.

“We also need stronger regulations around the availability and promotion of alcohol, which is linked to higher risk drinking.

“We know that men experience a significant proportion of alcohol harms, and this data shows the importance of targeted interventions with vulnerable populations, including people with long-term alcohol use problems.

“By supporting people to seek help and directing them to the best services and programs for their circumstances, we can shift attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol and encourage early behaviour change.”

For support or advice, visit adf.org.au or call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015 .

If you are worried about your own, or a loved one’s alcohol or other drug use, people can also visit Path2Help. This tool will connect you with local services in your area that can help you have that initial conversation.


For media enquiries please call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s media team on 0430 948 380 or email media@adf.org.au.