Home > Dail Eireann Debate. Written answers 480 & 491 - National drug-related deaths index [32913/13 & 32914/13].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann Debate. Written answers 480 & 491 - National drug-related deaths index [32913/13 & 32914/13]. (09 Jul 2013)

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480. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health the number of persons who have died in the past three years from overdoses of non-prescription use of pain killers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32913/13] 

 

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): The Irish National Drug-Related Deaths Index (NDRDI), which is maintained by the Health Research Board, is an epidemiological database which records deaths in Ireland due to drug and alcohol poisoning, and deaths among drug users and those who are alcohol dependent. I have been advised by the Health Research Board that information on 2010 deaths is the most recent data available. Data on 2011 deaths will not be ready until late 2013. I am further advised by the Health Research Board that while the NDRDI records all drugs or substances implicated in an individual’s death, including both over the counter and prescription medications, data is not available as to whether the prescription medication was prescribed to the deceased or if it was obtained by other means.

 

In 2010, there were 323 poisoning deaths recorded. Poisoning Deaths are defined as deaths directly due to the toxic effect of the presence in the body of a drug or drugs and/or other substance(s). Other terms used to describe such deaths include overdose, directly drug-related death and acute drug death. Deaths arising from adverse reactions to prescribed medication are not included in the NDRDI. In 2010, analgesic (pain killers) alone (eg paracetamol, solpadine, tramadol, tylex) including an analgesic containing an opiate compound accounted for 2% (7 deaths) of all poisoning deaths.

 

 

491. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health the number of deaths that occurred in the past three years where benzodiazepines played a role; his Department's role in counteracting the multi-prescription of benzodiazepines with persons claiming one prescription on their medical card and paying in cash for others; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32914/13]

 

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): The National Drug-Related Deaths Index maintained by the Health Research Board shows that benzodiazepines were implicated, either alone or with other drugs or substances in 310 deaths between 2008 and 2010, of which 103 occurred in 2008, 113 in 2009 and 94 in 2010. Data relating to 2011 will be available later this year.

 

The supply of prescription medicines, including benzodiazepines, is controlled in a number of ways. Under the Medicinal Products (Prescription and Control of Supply) Regulations, it is prohibited for a person to supply a prescription medicine except in accordance with a prescription, and the supply must be made from a registered pharmacy by or under the personal supervision of a registered pharmacist. A person who contravenes these Regulations is guilty of an offence. In addition, medicines which have a high potential to be misused are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Acts. A person who has in his possession a prescription medicine containing a controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs legislation for the purpose of selling or supplying it, is guilty of an offence under that legislation.

 

As a result of consultations with key stakeholders, draft Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Regulations are currently being prepared to introduce stricter prescribing and dispensing controls on benzodiazepines. It is planned to finalise the draft Statutory Instruments shortly and publish these on the Department’s website as part of a written consultation process. This will be followed by a 3 month EU notification period required under the Technical Standards Directive because of the implications of the proposed regulatory changes on trade in pharmaceutical products. Government approval will then be sought to amend the legislation.

Item Type:Dail Debates
Source:Oireachtas
Date:9 July 2013
EndNote:View
Subjects:VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
P Demography, epidemiology, and history > Population dynamics > Substance related mortality / death
G Health and disease > Substance use disorder > Drug use > Drug intoxication > Poisoning (overdose)
B Substances > Sedatives or tranquillisers (CNS depressants) > Benzodiazepine
E Concepts in biomedical areas > Substance by legal status > Prescription drug (medicine / medication)

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