Drug-related Deaths

Treasury written question – answered on 16th October 2006.

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Photo of Michael Weir Michael Weir Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in how many deaths (a) heroin, (b) ecstasy, (c) amphetamines, (d) other drugs, (e) alcohol and (f) tobacco were recorded as causes in each year since 1990, broken down by NHS trust.

Photo of John Healey John Healey The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

The information requested falls within the responsibilities of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 9 October 2006:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking in how many deaths (a) heroin, (b) ecstasy, (c) amphetamines, (d) other drugs, (e) alcohol and (f) tobacco were recorded as causes in each year since 1990, broken down by NHS board. (89424)

Although there are health boards in Scotland, there are no directly equivalent areas in England and Wales. The nearest equivalents are primary care organisations (PCOs). ONS could, however, supply the information requested for PCOs at disproportionate cost only.

National figures for drug-related poisoning deaths in England and Wales are published on the National Statistics website. Figures are not available before 1993 and the most recent results are for 2004. These are available in tables linked from the following page:


These tables report on drug-related poisonings by substance, including heroin/morphine, ecstasy, and all amphetamines.

The number of alcohol-related deaths in England and Wales from 1990 to 2004 are included in the following table.

As smoking history is rarely recorded on death certificates the number of tobacco-related deaths cannot be directly determined. Estimates can however be made of the number of deaths attributable to smoking, by using information on the contribution that smoking makes to specific conditions recorded at death. The most recent estimates for England were published by the Health Development Agency in 2004.(1 )This report estimated that over the period 1998-2002 an average of 86,500 deaths were caused by smoking each year in England.

(1) Twigg L, Moon G and Walker S. The smoking epidemic in England. Health Development Agency, 2004.

Alcohol-related deaths,( 1) England and Wales,( 2 ) 1990-2004( 3)
Number of deaths
1990 3,368
1991 3,415
1992 3,346
1993 3,372
1994 3,691
1995 4,074
1996 4,309
1997 4,743
1998 5,093
1999 5,329
2000 5,471
2001 5,845
2002 5,914
2003 6,491
2004 6,526
(1) The cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9), from 1990 to 2000 and the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) from 2001-2004. The codes used to select alcohol-related deaths are listed: ICD-9 Alcoholic psychoses - ICD-9 291 Alcohol dependence syndrome - ICD-9 303 Non-dependent abuse of alcohol - ICD-9 305.0 Alcoholic cardiomyopathy - ICD-9 425.5 Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis - ICD-9 571 (excluding biliary cirrhosis - ICD-9 571.6) Accidental poisoning by alcohol - ICD-9 E860 ICD-10 Mental and behavioural disorders due to use of alcohol - ICD-10 F10 Degeneration of nervous system due to alcohol - ICD-10 G31.2 Alcoholic polyneuropathy - ICD-10 G62.1 Alcoholic cardiomyopathy - ICD-10 142.6 Alcoholic gastritis - ICD-10 K29.2 Alcoholic liver disease - ICD-10 K70 Chronic hepatitis, not elsewhere classified - ICD-10 K73 Fibrosis and cirrhosis of liver - ICD-10 K74 (Excluding biliary cirrhosis - ICD-10 K74.3-K74.5) Alcohol induced chronic pancreatitis - ICD-10 K86.0 Accidental poisoning by and exposure to alcohol - ICD-10 X45 Intentional self-poisoning by and exposure to alcohol - ICD-10 X65 Poisoning by and exposure to alcohol, undetermined intent - ICD-10 Y15. (2) Includes non-residents. (3 )Figures are for deaths registered in each calendar year for 1990-1992 and for deaths occurring in each calendar year in 1993-2004.

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