Deaths directly caused by alcohol soared by 20 per cent during the first year of the Covid pandemic, Government figures revealed today.
Public Health England chiefs say the endless cycle of lockdowns swayed people into binge-drinking at home.
Data shows there were 6,893 deaths blamed on alcohol in 2020, compared to 5,819 in 2019 before the virus reached Britain.
The North East was hit hardest, with fatalities spiking by almost 80 per cent.
Drinking to much alcohol can kill by causing fat to build up in the liver, stopping the organ regulating the body's chemicals properly.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Ministers called the increase in alcohol-related deaths during the pandemic 'deeply concerning'.
They pledged to increase treatment services for alcohol dependence, with £3.3billion pledged for public health services including alcohol treatment over the next year.
But Labour hit out at No10 for slashing addiction services and 'doing nothing to give people who need help with addiction the support they need'.
Charities urged No10 to address mounting alcohol abuse following the pandemic to prevent a 'liver disease epidemic' after 'Freedom Day' on Monday.
Deaths directly caused by alcohol reached record levels last year after Covid lockdowns drove binge drinking at home, a study by Public Health England has suggested. Graph shows: The number of alcohol-specific deaths per 100,000 in England each month in 2021, 2020 and the baseline average taken from 2018 and 2019
Despite pubs, clubs and restaurants during the national lockdowns, the total amount of alcohol released for sale during the pandemic was still similar to the pre-pandemic years, suggesting people were drinking more at home, PHE said
Three separate surveys showed the proportion of people admitting they were drinking more increased to nearly 30 per cent from the start of the first lockdown to summerInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
PHE data showed the number of alcoholic liver deaths — caused by a build-up of fat on the organ caused by excessive drinking — jumped 21 per cent from 2019 to 2020.
The biggest increase in drinking during lockdown was seen in the North East, which peaked at 28.4 deaths per 100,000 population in July.
This was 79.7 per cent higher than the the average figure for the same time in 2018 and 2019.
Despite pubs, bars and restaurants being shut for several months during lockdowns, the total amount of alcohol sold last year was still similar to the pre-pandemic years, PHE said.
An extra 12.6million litres of alcohol were sold in shops and supermarkets in 2020/21 compared to 2019/20, the report also claimed.
And the number of men and women drinking at a 'high risk level' increased by 58.6 per cent during the lockdown in March this year compared to the year before.
The amount of people drinking at high risk levels — 50 units for men, 35 for women — was also highest in March this year, having risen in the first lockdown and stayed at high levels throughout the pandemic.
Unplanned hospital admissions for alcoholic liver disease per 100,000 increased by 3.2 per cent between 2019 and 2020
And the number of men and women drinking at a 'high risk level' increased by 58.6 per cent during the lockdown in March this year compared to the year before
The data shows across 2020 and 2021, alcoholic liver deaths peaked in March this year at a rate of 12 per 100,000 population.
This was 46.3 per cent higher than the average for March in 2018 and 2019.
PHE's director of drugs, alcohol, tobacco and justice Rosanna O' Connor said: 'Our research suggests that lockdown has affected heavy drinkers the most and that they are drinking more.
'Liver disease is currently the second leading cause of premature death in people of working age and this is only set to get worse if the Covid pandemic results in a long-term increase in drinking.
Alcoholic fatty liver disease is caused by too much fat being stored in the organ's cells.
The disease can cause scarring and irreversible damage to the liver, and can