Fewer alcohol-specific deaths were recorded in Torridge in 2022, recent figures show.

It comes as Alcohol Change UK said inaction on alcohol harm has led to these avoidable deaths.

Office for National Statistics figures show there were six deaths in 2022 due to health conditions as a direct consequence of alcohol misuse in Torridge.

It was down from seven deaths the year before, and was a fall from eight in 2019, before the pandemic.

Across the UK, there were 10,048 deaths from alcohol-specific causes – a record high and 33% higher than in 2019 when there were 7,565 deaths recorded.

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."

He added: "Years of inaction on alcohol harm has led to this, and the heartbreaking thing is these deaths were totally avoidable.

"Our Government has the responsibility and the power to put preventative measures in place, including proper regulation of alcohol marketing, clearer alcohol labelling, and a minimum price for a unit of alcohol."

Between 2012 and 2019, deaths specifically attributed to alcohol were "stable", the ONS said.

ONS health statistician David Mais added: "Alcohol-specific deaths rose sharply with the onset of the pandemic, and today's results show a continuation of that trend, with deaths around a third higher than in 2019."

He said research has suggested people who were already drinking at high levels before the pandemic were the most likely to have increased their drinking during this period.

Looking at the number of alcohol-specific deaths from 2020 to 2022, there were 9.5 deaths per 100,000 people in Torridge.

This was below the national rate of 13.8 per 100,000 for England.

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK, said: "We are in the midst of a public health crisis and the lack of government action to prevent the lives lost and resulting devastation for families, friends and communities is a shameful failure in public policy."

He added: "Despite what we are often told by the alcohol industry, the evidence shows it’s a complete myth that this is a problem for only a small minority.

"Alcohol is cheaper, more available and more heavily marketed today than ever before. As the death toll reaches record levels, so do the profits of the multibillion-pound drinks industry."

He added the next government must prepare to "step up" with a comprehensive alcohol strategy, with restrictions on marketing, availability and pricing.