Drug-related and drug-misuse deaths in Northern Ireland, 2010-2020

Date published: 01 March 2022

A report and tables on Drug-related and drug-misuse deaths in Northern Ireland, 2010-2020 were released at 9.30am today.

This report presents statistics on Northern Ireland (NI) drug-related mortality in 2020.  Figures are based on deaths registered in NI that are known to be drug-related or a direct consequence of drug misuse.

Key points

  • The number of drug-related deaths registered in Northern Ireland in 2020 (218) was the highest on record and continued the upwards trend from 191 deaths in 2019. The same was true for drug-misuse deaths, increasing from 165 in 2019 to 182 in 2020.
  • Over half (55.5%) of drug related deaths were of men aged 25-44. Drug-related death rates were highest among the 25-34 age group (27.2 deaths per 100,000 people).
  • Opioids were the most commonly mentioned type of drugs on death certificates. However, the number of drug-related deaths involving psychoactive substances increased notably from 11 in 2019 to 51 in 2020.
  • The proportion of Drug-related deaths where alcohol was mentioned continued to fall in 2020.
  • Two-thirds (66.1%) of drug-related deaths in 2020 involved two or more drugs. In contrast in 2010, 55.4% of drug-related deaths involved two or more drugs
  • Belfast HSCT and LGD had the highest age-standardised rate of drug-related deaths per 100,000 population – 19.8 and 21.2 respectively. Drug-related and drug-misuse deaths were higher in areas of highest deprivation.

The full report and tables are available from the Drug-related deaths webpage.

Share this page