Poly drug use & alcohol have contributed to the 62% increase in fatalities over the past decade.
The Health Research Board has published the latest drug-related deaths figures for Ireland.
Almost two people died each day here during 2014 “as a result of poisoning, trauma or medical cases linked to drug use.”
The 697 deaths compared to 431 in 2004 – an increase in a decade of 62%.
According to the survey:
• Prescription drugs were implicated in 259, or three in every four, poisonings during 2014.
• 235 or two in every three people died in 2014 because they took a mixture of drugs, with an average of four drugs involved. Benzodiazepines were the most common drug group involved in poly drug deaths.
• Notwithstanding a small decrease in alcohol poisonings, alcohol is still implicated in one-in-three deaths and remains the single most common drug implicated in deaths over the reporting period 2004-2014.
• Opiates were the main drug group implicated in poisonings, with 90 directly attributable or related deaths.
•Hanging was the main cause of non-poisoning deaths. There was a 21% increase in deaths due to hanging between 2013 and 2014.
Highlighting the dangers of poly drug use, HRB Chief Executive, Dr. Graham Love, says: “It is not just illicit drugs that are resulting in death. Over time we are seeing a rise in the number of deaths involving prescription drugs and cocktails of different drugs. Alcohol is also implicated in one in three deaths. Mixing drugs increases the risk of death, which is clearly reflected in these figures”.
The HRB’s lead researcher, Ms. Ena Lynn, adds: “We should not lose sight of the fact that each of these statistics is a life cut short, and that family members are deeply affected. These statistics give us some insight into the impact that drug use has on people and society”
Other substances implicated in drug deaths include diazepam, flurazepam, cocaine, MDMA and non-opiate analgesics.