Alcohol-Related Deaths in Scotland: Care for People with Dependence is Available, but High-Quality Care Is Lacking
Alcohol-related death rates have increased in some countries, including Scotland. Researchers there sought to determine whether primary-care interventions or other opportunities might have prevented the deaths. They analyzed 2003 death records from a large metropolitan area and identified 501 alcohol-related deaths (average age at death, 57.5 years; 72% men). They then conducted a comprehensive review of lifetime primary-care, inpatient (medical and psychiatric), social-work, forensic, charity, and police records for a subsample of 65 decedents (74% men). Actual care received by this subsample was compared with evidence-based recommendations for the management of alcohol use disorders.
- The majority of deaths were due to alcoholic liver disease (58%) and alcohol-related psychiatric disorders (14%).
- There were 24 lifetime primary-care or hospital outpatient visits among men and only 5 among women.
- Seventy-nine percent of patients received advice to abstain from alcohol.
- Twenty-three percent received brief interventions, but only 17% complied.
- Fifty-eight percent were referred to specialized treatment, but compliance was poor.