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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written Answers 418 - Drugs-related deaths.

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written Answers 418 - Drugs-related deaths. (21 Oct 2014)

418. Deputy Thomas P. Broughanasked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the significant number of deaths attributable to drugs overdoses each year; and, in particular, the number of deaths from drugs overdoses where one of the drugs involved was methadone. [40013/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar):  The National Drugs Related Deaths Index is an epidemiological database which records cases of death by drug and/or alcohol poisoning and death among drug users and those who are alcohol dependent. Four sources are used to collate deaths: Coroner’s records; Hospital In-patient Enquiry System; Central Treatment List; and the General Mortality Register. 

The Health Research Board (HRB) launched their report on the 21st January 2014 which showed deaths for 2011, the latest year for which data is available. These figures indicate that there was a substantial increase in the number of deaths where methadone was implicated with 113 such deaths reported in 2011 compared to 60 in 2010. However, the majority of these deaths (86%) involved poly-substance poisonings. In addition, 68% of those who died where methadone was implicated, were not in opiate substitution treatment at the time of their death. There is clear evidence to indicate that having access to drug treatment is one of the major factors in reducing drugs-related deaths. Data on 2012 deaths will be available early next year.

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