Home > National Drug-Related Deaths Index 2004 to 2016 data.

Health Research Board. (2019) National Drug-Related Deaths Index 2004 to 2016 data. Dublin: Health Research Board.

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PDF (National Drug-Related Deaths Index 2005 to 2016 data) - Published Version
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[img] Microsoft Excel (Table 6 Number of poisoning deaths, by year, by regional and local DATFA where known, NDRDI 2004 to 2016) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Microsoft Excel (Table 7 Number of non-poisoning deaths, by year, by regional and local DATFA where known, NDRDI 2004 to 2016) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Microsoft Excel (Table 8 Number of poisoning deaths, by year, by county, NDRDI 2004 to 2016) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Microsoft Excel (Table 9 Number of non-poisoning deaths, by year, by county, NDRDI 2004 to 2016) - Supplemental Material
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Key findings – all deaths 2016

  • There were 736 deaths in 2016, similar to the number reported in 2015 (735).
  • Many of these deaths were premature – half of all deaths in 2016 were aged 42 years or younger.
  • 21,300 potential life years were lost** because of drug-related deaths.
  • Three-in-four (549) of all deaths were male.
  • A total of 34 (5%) deaths were among people who were injecting drugs and the majority 22 (65%) died in Dublin City.

 Poisoning deaths in 2016

  • The number of poisoning deaths decreased slightly from 365 in 2015, to 354 in 2016.
  • Alcohol was implicated in 132 (37%) deaths in 2016, compared to 112 deaths in 2015. Alcohol was implicated in one-in-three of all poisonings and alcohol alone was responsible for 16% of all poisoning deaths.
  • Opiates were the main drug group implicated in poisonings, heroin decreased again in 2016, but methadone increased again in 2016.
    • Heroin was implicated in 72 deaths in 2016 compared to 83 in 2015.
    • Methadone was implicated in almost one third of poisonings (103) in 2016.
  • Prescription drugs were implicated in 258 (73%), or seven in every ten, poisoning deaths.
    • Benzodiazepines were the most common prescription drug group implicated.
    • Methadone (an opiate substitute) was the most common single prescription drug, implicated in 103 (29%) of all poisonings.
    • Pregabalin related deaths (anti-epileptic drug which is also prescribed for chronic pain and some anxiety conditions) increased from 49 deaths in 2015, to 65 in 2016 reflecting a persistent rise since 2013.
  • Cocaine-related deaths decreased from 45 in 2015 to 41 in 2016.

Mixing drugs

  • Polydrug use or drug cocktails significantly increase the risk for fatal overdose.
  • In 2004, 44% or 118 deaths were due to a cocktail of drugs, with an average of two drugs taken. In 2016 this had risen to 62% or 219 deaths, with an average of four different drugs taken.
  • 58% (77) of deaths where alcohol was implicated involved other drugs, mainly opiates.
  • 88% (91) of deaths where methadone was implicated involved other drugs, mainly benzodiazepines.
  • 81% (58) of deaths where heroin was implicated involved other drugs, mainly benzodiazepines.
  • All diazepam related deaths (96) involved other drugs. 

Non-poisoning deaths in 2016

The number of non-poisoning deaths increased slightly with 382 deaths in 2016 compared to 370 in 2015. Non-poisoning deaths are categorised as being due to either trauma (172 deaths) or medical causes (210 deaths).

  • The main causes of non-poisoning deaths categorised as trauma were hanging (93, 24%) and categorised as medical were cardiac events (56, 15%).
  • Three in every four (75%) people who died as a result of hanging had a history of mental health problems.
  • The median age for deaths due to medical causes has increased from 38 years in 2004, to 46 years in 2016, which may indicate an ageing cohort of people who use drugs in Ireland.

 

*Data for the HRB’s National Drug-Related Deaths Index is collected from four sources; coronial files, the Hospital In-Patient Enquiry scheme, the Central Statistics Office and the Central Treatment List. Data is cross checked and matched across the different sources by HRB staff to give an accurate picture of the number of drug-related deaths in Ireland.

** Potential life years lost was calculated by looking at the age of individuals who died in 2016 and what their life expectancy would have been based on their year of birth.

 

Note: The 2016 figures are likely to be revised upwards when new data become available from closed inquest files.

 

Date:February 2019
Pages:6
Publisher:Health Research Board
Corporate Creators:Health Research Board
Place of Publication:Dublin
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Electronic Only)
Related URLs:
Subjects:B Substances > Sedatives or tranquillisers (CNS depressants) > Benzodiazepine
B Substances > Cocaine
B Substances > Opioids (opiates)
G Health and disease > Substance use disorder > Multiple substance use (Polydrug)
G Health and disease > Substance use disorder > Drug use > Drug intoxication > Drugs and alcohol poisoning (overdose)
P Demography, epidemiology, and history > Population dynamics > Substance related mortality / death
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland

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