There are currently no centrally held figures on the number of deaths as a result of heroin abuse.
There were 2,943 deaths records in 1999 where drugs were recorded as a primary cause of death. However, the database from which these figures derive cover accidents and suicides involving drugs, as well as poisonings due to drug abuse and drug dependence, but not other adverse effects of drugs. The range of substances these statistics cover are wide, including legal and illegal, prescribed substances and over the counter medications such as paracetamol.
For each death the database includes every mention of a substance recorded on the death certificate or mentioned by the coroner.
The Department is developing a comprehensive strategy to reduce drug-related deaths which is to be launched shortly.