31/08/2012

Heroin And Morphine Drug Deaths Fall

Heroin and morphine are still the substances most commonly involved in drug poisoning deaths, according to The Office for National Statistics.

In 2011 there was a 25 per cent drop in fatalities, with 596 deaths.

The fall in deaths may be due to shortages in the availability of the illegal drug heroin in the UK, which according to the Serious Organised Crime Agency began in 2010 and continued in some areas in 2011/12.

In total there were 1,772 male and 880 female drug poisoning deaths in 2011, a decrease of 6 per cent on 2010 for males, but a 3 per cent increase for females.

ONS revealed this in a bulletin which reports the number of drug-related deaths in England and Wales in 2011. These deaths involve a broad spectrum of substances, including legal and illegal drugs, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines.

The mortality rate from drug misuse (involving illegal drugs) was significantly higher in males than in females (43.4 and 14.4 deaths per million population for males and females respectively in 2011). The British Crime Survey (Home Office, 2011) showed that men were more than twice as likely as women to have used illicit drugs in the last year, which may explain the higher mortality rate from drug misuse in males.

In both males and females the largest proportion of drug-related deaths were from accidental poisonings (62 per cent in males and 51 per cent in females). In females just under half of all drug poisoning deaths were classified as suicides, increasing by 7 per cent from 391 deaths in 2010 to 418 deaths in 2011. In males a third were suicides, rising from 482 to 576 deaths between 2010 and 2011, a 20 per cent increase and the highest number since 2005.

(GK)

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