Prescription Drugs: Lancashire

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 12th September 2013.

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Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Conservative, Pendle

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many deaths from prescription drug overdoses there were in (a) Pendle constituency and (b) Lancashire in each of the last five years.

Photo of Nick Hurd Nick Hurd The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

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

Letter from Peter Fullerton, dated September 2013

In the absence of the Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking the Secretary of State for Health how many deaths from prescription drug overdoses there were in (a) Pendle constituency and (b) Lancashire in each of the last five years. (168968)

The following table provide the number of deaths where the underlying cause was related to drug poisoning for (i) Pendle parliamentary constituency and (ii) Lancashire county, for deaths registered between 2008 and 2012 (the latest year available).

The drug-related deaths shown in Table 1 involve a broad spectrum of substances, including legal and illegal drugs, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. It is not possible to provide figures on the number of deaths from prescription drug overdoses as ONS do not categorise substances in this manner. In addition, some prescription drugs are widely abused (for example morphine and diazepam), and it is not possible to determine from the information provided on the coroner's death certificate whether the drug was prescribed to the individual or obtained illegally.

The number of drug-related deaths registered in England and Wales from 1993 to 2012 are available on the ONS website. Table 6 shows the number of deaths for specific substances, including a wide range of prescription drugs:

www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health3/deaths-related-to-drug-poisoning/index.html

Table 1. Number of deaths where the underlying cause was related to drug poisoning, Pendle parliamentary constituency and Lancashire county, deaths registered 2008 to 2012(1, 2, 3, 4)
Deaths (persons)
Area 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Pendle parliamentary constituency 4 8 11 13 5
Lancashire county 89 70 75 83 73
(1) Cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes shown in Box 1 as follows. (2) Figures are based on boundaries as at August 2013 and exclude deaths of non-residents. (3) Deaths of persons usually resident in Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen unitary authorities have been excluded from figures for Lancashire county. (4) Figures are based on deaths registered, rather than deaths occurring between 2008 and 2012. Due to the length of time it takes to hold an inquest, it can take months for a drug-related death to be registered. Additional information on registration delays for drug-related deaths can be found in the annual statistical bulletin: www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health3/deaths-related-to-drug-poisoning/index.html
Box 1. International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes used to define deaths related to drug poisoning
Description ICD 10 codes
Mental and behavioural disorders due to drug use (excluding alcohol and tobacco) F11-F16, F18-F19
Accidental poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances X40-X44
Intentional self-poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances X60-X64
Assault by drugs, medicaments and biological substances X85
Poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances, undetermined intent Y10-Y14

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