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Methadone: Death

Volume 481: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many deaths attributed to methadone addiction were recorded in each of the last five years. (229662)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated October 2008:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many deaths attributed to methadone addiction have been recorded in each of the last five years. (229662)

The attached table provides the numbers of deaths for which the underlying cause was drug poisoning and methadone was mentioned on the death certificate either alone or together with other substances, from 2003 to 2007 (the latest year available).

The information collected at death registration does not specify whether the deceased was addicted to the substances mentioned as contributing to the death.

Table 1: Deaths attributed to drug poisoning1 where methadone was mentioned on the death certificate, England and Wales, 2003 to 20072, 3, 4

Number

Methadone mentioned only

Methadone and other substances

Total mentions of methadone

2003

74

127

201

2004

105

114

219

2005

98

122

220

2006

125

116

241

2007

167

158

325

1 Cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Deaths were included where the underlying cause was due to drug poisoning (shown in the table below) and where methadone was mentioned on the death certificate. 2 Figures include deaths of non-residents. 3 Figures are for deaths registered in each calendar year. 4 Where methadone was the only drug mentioned on the death certificate, and where methadone was mentioned with other substances.

ICD-10

Description

F11 to F16, F18 to F19

Mental and behavioural disorders due to drug use (excluding alcohol and tobacco)

X40 to X44

Accidental poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

X60 to X64

Intentional self-poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

X85

Assault by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

Y10 to Y14

Poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances, undetermined intent.