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Drugs: Death

Volume 472: debated on Monday 3 March 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many deaths related to the misuse of zed tranquillisers were recorded in Wales where (a) such abuse was the only drug-related cause of death recorded and (b) misuse of other drugs was recorded as a contributory cause between 1999 and 2006. (190208)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 3 March 2008:

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many deaths related to the misuse of zed tranquilisers were recorded in Wales where (a) such abuse was the only drug-related cause of death recorded and (b) misuse of other drugs were recorded as a contributory cause between 1999 and 2006. I am replying in her absence. (190208)

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports annually on deaths related to drug poisoning and drug misuse in England and Wales. ONS defines drug misuse deaths as deaths where the underlying cause was drug poisoning and where any drug controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act was involved.

‘Zed tranquilisers’ are taken to be the three non-benzodiazepine hypnotics: zaleplon, zolpidem and zopiclone. These are not controlled substances and so are not included in ONS statistics on drug-misuse deaths.

In 1999-2006 there were no drug poisoning deaths for Wales where zaleplon, zolpidem or zopiclone were the only drugs mentioned on the death record. The number of drug poisoning deaths, where these substances were mentioned with other drugs on the death record, is provided in the table below for the years 1999-2006.

Deaths from drug poisoning1 where zaleplon, zolpidem or zopiclone were mentioned on the death record, Wales2, 1999 to 20063

Number of deaths

1999

1

2000

1

2001

1

2002

2003

1

2004

2005

2

2006

2

1 Cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes 292, 303, 305.2-305.9, E850-E858, E950.0-E950.5, E980.0-E980.5 and E962,0 for the years 1999 and 2000 and Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes F11-F16, F18-F19, X40-X44, X60-X64, X85 andY10-Y14 from 2001 onwards.

2 Deaths of usual residents of Wales.

3 Figures are for deaths registered in each calendar year.