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Death: Drugs

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2009

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many deaths attributed to the use of each illegal drug there have been in each region in each year since 2000; and if she will make a statement. (290826)

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

Letter from Jill Matheson, dated 8 September 2009:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many deaths attributed to the use of each illegal drug there have been in each region in each year since 2000. (290826)

Drugs classified under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971) are termed ‘controlled substances’, and unlawful possession of a controlled substance is illegal, as is possession with intent to supply. Lawful possession of a controlled substance would include when the drug was in the possession of a person it had been prescribed to. It is not possible to ascertain from information collected at death certification whether a drug was obtained lawfully or not.

The table attached provides the total number of drug misuse deaths, and the number of drug misuse deaths where selected controlled substances were mentioned on the death certificate, in each government office region in England from 2000 to 2008 (the latest year available).

There are over 400 controlled substances listed under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971). Figures have been provided for those substances, or categories of substances, most commonly associated with drug misuse deaths.

Table 1. Numbers of deaths related to drug misuse,1 and numbers of deaths related to drug misuse where selected controlled substances were mentioned on the death certificate,2,3,4,5 government, office regions in England,6 2000-087

Deaths (persons)

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

North East

Deaths related to drug misuse

64

108

108

76

83

90

95

91

104

Heroin and Morphine

40

73

67

42

36

44

42

29

47

Methadone

6

5

7

10

17

28

17

29

32

Cocaine

3

3

5

5

6

10

14

10

11

All amphetamines

2

6

10

7

3

7

8

9

6

MDMA/Ecstasy

0

6

9

7

1

5

5

4

4

Cannabis

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

All benzodiazepines

20

27

39

30

36

22

21

29

33

North West

Deaths related to drug misuse

253

288

235

214

218

226

269

225

307

Heroin and Morphine

135

160

126

92

101

106

105

120

148

Methadone

70

57

45

53

47

43

54

57

83

Cocaine

11

14

19

21

26

26

34

30

43

All amphetamines

11

11

17

10

14

18

18

21

20

MDMA/Ecstasy

4

6

6

5

6

10

7

9

7

Cannabis

0

2

0

3

4

5

6

4

5

All benzodiazepines

20

40

52

46

42

34

40

21

33

Yorkshire and the Humber

Deaths related to drug misuse

192

198

195

181

198

189

182

168

166

Heroin and Morphine

137

130

125

117

118

120

101

96

102

Methadone

20

14

19

19

27

21

22

37

43

Cocaine

6

5

14

16

23

29

24

17

19

All amphetamines

14

10

14

12

18

17

17

13

13

MDMA/Ecstasy

4

6

8

3

10

11

6

8

3

Cannabis

2

1

2

2

1

0

2

1

1

All benzodiazepines

21

22

21

23

37

14

15

21

25

East Midlands

Deaths related to drug misuse

98

106

123

96

109

93

95

110

111

Heroin and Morphine

58

71

77

57

62

54

53

65

60

Methadone

11

11

10

16

14

19

13

25

20

Cocaine

2

7

6

9

11

6

5

4

9

All amphetamines

3

7

10

6

8

7

6

7

9

MDMA/Ecstasy

1

6

3

1

4

1

5

2

4

Cannabis

0

1

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

All benzodiazepines

12

20

11

11

18

8

8

17

12

West Midlands

Deaths related to drug misuse

138

137

128

124

133

148

134

157

155

Heroin and Morphine

81

86

76

71

65

82

72

78

85

Methadone

26

16

15

15

21

15

19

32

35

Cocaine

9

4

12

5

4

9

15

12

20

All amphetamines

3

5

3

5

2

10

1

11

3

MDMA/Ecstasy

2

2

2

4

1

8

0

6

1

Cannabis

0

0

2

0

1

3

2

1

0

All benzodiazepines

23

24

28

17

13

23

13

27

19

East of England

Deaths related to drug misuse

133

146

147

116

126

139

99

129

161

Heroin and Morphine

70

80

82

48

50

65

46

67

76

Methadone

27

25

16

17

21

19

17

30

39

Cocaine

5

7

14

11

17

14

10

14

19

All amphetamines

2

9

5

3

6

8

2

5

7

MDMA/Ecstasy

1

7

4

2

2

2

1

3

2

Cannabis

0

4

1

0

1

0

1

0

5

All benzodiazepines

12

12

20

17

15

17

8

17

21

London

Deaths related to drug misuse

257

279

193

182

177

235

230

202

203

Heroin and Morphine

69

84

57

54

51

68

52

69

52

Methadone

46

44

34

17

26

20

39

30

26

Cocaine

30

35

29

29

30

43

38

60

54

All amphetamines

8

8

10

8

9

9

8

11

12

MDMA/Ecstasy

7

8

6

7

8

8

5

6

8

Cannabis

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

All benzodiazepines

22

18

10

7

5

12

8

7

8

South East

Deaths related to drug misuse

233

253

223

180

227

229

211

222

209

Heroin and Morphine

123

140

121

86

136

136

98

127

134

Methadone

43

40

26

30

27

30

29

40

37

Cocaine

10

8

17

14

23

21

31

25

39

All amphetamines

7

10

12

9

10

13

16

10

11

MDMA/Ecstasy

5

6

8

8

4

6

9

6

5

Cannabis

5

4

5

2

6

10

5

5

5

All benzodiazepines

42

42

31

30

33

39

28

33

32

South West

Deaths related to drug misuse

142

182

153

143

144

157

154

175

201

Heroin and Morphine

91

106

81

79

89

108

84

116

126

Methadone

8

17

19

12

16

14

19

25

40

Cocaine

3

7

3

9

6

6

9

8

11

All amphetamines

3

6

7

6

2

7

8

5

13

MDMA/Ecstasy

1

5

5

3

2

3

5

0

7

Cannabis

0

0

1

0

3

0

1

0

1

All benzodiazepines

17

17

16

17

19

7

18

16

16

1 Cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) for the year 2000, and the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) from 2001 onwards. Deaths were included where the underlying cause was due to drug poisoning (shown in Box 1 following) and where a drug controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 was mentioned on the death certificate.

2 Some deaths may be counted in more than one category. For example if heroin and cocaine are recorded on the death certificate, the death would be counted once under each substance. Where more than one drug is mentioned on the death certificate, it is not possible to tell which was primarily responsible for the death.

3 Heroin breaks down in the body to morphine, and the latter may be detected at post mortem and recorded on the death certificate. Therefore, a combined figure for deaths where heroin or morphine was mentioned on the death certificate is given.

4 The figures for deaths associated with cocaine include those associated with crack cocaine.

5 The figure for all amphetamines includes deaths mentioning MDMA/Ecstasy.

6 Based on boundaries as of 2009.

7 Figures for deaths registered in 2008 are provisional.

Box l

Description

ICD-9

ICD-10

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

292, 304, 305.2—305.9

F11—F16, F18—F19

Accidental poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

E850—E858

X40—X44

Intentional self-poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

E950.0—E950.5

X60—X64

Assault by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

E962.0

X85

Poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances, undetermined intent

E980.0—E980.5

Y10—Y14