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Inquests (Prescribed Drugs)

Volume 407: debated on Wednesday 25 June 2003

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To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will broaden the remit of inquests so that coroners can take into account the influence of prescribed drugs in suicide. [119776]

I have been asked to reply.The Courts have confirmed that, under the current law, the purpose of an inquest is to ascertain how the deceased came by a violent or unnatural death. It is a matter for the coroner to decide on the scope of the investigation but in most cases coroners will take evidence of what drugs were prescribed and commission tests for the presence of drugs which may have been a factor in a death apparently due to self harm.