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Death: Drugs

Volume 490: debated on Monday 30 March 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many deaths by overdose from drugs in Class (a) A, (b) B and (c) C there were in the last 12 months for which figures are available. (267865)

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many deaths by overdose from drugs in class (a) A, (b) B and (c) C there were in the last 12 months for which figures are available. (267865)

The table attached provides the number of deaths where any drug in class (a) A, (b) B and (c) C was mentioned on the death certificate, in England and Wales, for 2007 (the latest year available).

Table 1. Number of deaths attributed to drug poisoning1 where a drug classified to class A, B or C was mentioned on the death certificate,2 England and Wales,3 20074

Persons

Class

Deaths

A

1,374

B

70

C

225

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 (corresponding ICD-10 codes are shown in Box 1) and where a drug classified as A, B or C was mentioned on the death certificate.

2 Some deaths may be counted in more than one category, for example if heroin and cannabis are recorded on the death certificate the death will be counted once under class A and once under class B.

3 Figures include deaths of non residents.

4 Figures are for deaths registered in 2007.

Box 1. International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) and Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes used to define drug-related poisoning deaths by underlying cause

Description

ICD-10

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

F11-F16, F18-F19

Accidental poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

X40-X44

Intentional self-poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

X60-X64

Assault by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

X85

Poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances, undetermined intent

Y10-Y14