Home > Update on drug-related deaths and deaths among drug users in Ireland.

Lynn, Ena and Lyons, Suzi and Walsh, Simone (2011) Update on drug-related deaths and deaths among drug users in Ireland. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 37, Spring 2011 , pp. 15-16.

[img]
Preview
PDF (Drugnet Ireland, issue 37) - Published Version
795kB

National Drug-Related Deaths Index (NDRDI) figures on drug-related deaths and deaths among drug users reported in 2008 are now available on the web.1 Previously reported figures for the years 1998–2007 have been updated to include data received on new cases. Similarly, figures for 2008 will be revised when data relating to new cases becomes available.

Between 1998 and 2008 a total of 4,064 drug-related deaths and deaths among drug users met the criteria for inclusion in the NDRDI database. Of these deaths, 2,434 were due to poisoning and 1,630 were due to traumatic or medical causes (non-poisoning) (Table 1).
 

Poisoning deaths in 2008
The annual number of deaths by poisoning increased from 177 in 1998 to 298 in 2007, and dropped slightly in 2008 to 293 (Table 1). Males accounted for the majority of deaths in each year; 72% of those who died by poisoning in 2008 were male. The majority of those who died in 2008 were aged between 20 and 44 years; the median age was 35 years. 

In 2008 the greater proportion (61%) of all deaths by poisoning involved more than one substance (polysubstance cases), compared to 58% in 2007. The number of deaths where heroin was implicated rose to 86 in 2008, compared to 78 in 2007. Cocaine was implicated in 11% of all cases in the 11-year period, with the annual number dropping to 58 in 2008, compared to 78 in 2007. Prescription and over-the-counter medication was implicated in many of the deaths by poisoning. Benzodiazepines continued to play a major role in polysubstance poisonings.
 
For the first time since 2003, the number of deaths by poisoning recorded inside Dublin (city and county) in 2008 surpassed the number recorded outside Dublin. In 2008 the highest number of poisoning deaths were recorded in the North Dublin City and County Regional Drugs Task Force area.
 
Non-poisoning deaths in 2008
The annual number of non-poisoning deaths among drug users decreased slightly to 231 in 2008, compared to 237 in 2007 (Table 1). Since 2006 the number of non-poisoning cases recorded has steadied. Of the 221 cases in 2008 with a known cause of death, over half (54%, 120) were due to medical causes and the remainder (46%, 101) were due to trauma (Figure 1).
 

Deaths due to trauma
The annual number of deaths due to trauma increased from 40 in 1998 to 114 in 2007, but decreased to 101 in 2008 (Figure 1). In 2008, sixty-one (60%) of those who died from traumatic causes were aged between 20 and 34 years. The median age was 28 years. Almost all (88, 87%) were male. The most common causes of death due to trauma were hanging and drowning. 

Deaths due to medical causes
The annual number of deaths due to medical causes continued to increase steadily, reaching 120 cases in 2008, when it exceeded the number of deaths due to trauma (Figure 1).
 
The majority of those who died from medical causes in 2008 were aged between 30 and 49 years. The median age was 42 years. Three-quarters (352, 76%) of those who died were male. The most common medical causes of death in 2008 were cardiac events (25, 21%), respiratory infections (16, 13%) and liver disease (12, 10%).
 
 
1. Health Research Board (2011) Drug-related deaths and deaths among drug users in Ireland: 2008 figures from the National Drug-Related Deaths Index. Available at www.drugsandalcohol.ie/14618
Item Type:Article
Issue Title:Issue 37, Spring 2011
Date:2011
Page Range:pp. 15-16
Publisher:Health Research Board
Volume:Issue 37, Spring 2011
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Available)
Subjects:VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
P Demography, epidemiology, and history > Population dynamics > Substance related mortality / death

Repository Staff Only: item control page