The HRB has published figures on the number of drug-related deaths in the Republic of Ireland between 2004 and 2015. In 2015, almost two people died each day as a result of poisoning, trauma or medical causes linked to drug use. This represents almost 20,000 potential life years lost* in just one year. A total of 695 people died in 2015 compared to 431 in 2004 - this represents an increase of 61%. Many of these deaths were premature – half of all deaths in 2015 were aged 41 years or younger and almost three-in-four (503) of all deaths were male. A total of 8% (54) of all drug-related deaths were among injectors and 52% (28) of injectors died in Dublin City. Since 2004, there have been 7,422 deaths among people who use drugs.
According to Dr Mairead O Driscoll, Interim Chief Executive at the HRB,
‘The number of deaths involving prescription drugs or cocktails of different drugs remains high. Mixing drugs increases the risk of death, which is clearly reflected in these figures. This year we continue to see an increase in the number of poisonings from cocaine’.
‘While the number of deaths from alcohol decreased slightly this year, alcohol remains the number one drug implicated in deaths, alone or with other drugs, over the reporting period. Alcohol was implicated in almost one-in-three poisoning deaths during 2015’.
Further information from the National Drug-Related Deaths Index can be accessed here.