Drug-Related Deaths

Revision notice 30 June 2022: Drug-related deaths and drug-misuse deaths in 2020 have been revised to reflect the findings of the review of suicide statistics and additional quality assurance of archived data. Revisions to already published data are minimal with the exception of ASMRs for drug-misuse deaths by deprivation quintile where a coding error was detected and corrected. The revised tables also include additional information on drug-related and drug-misuse deaths by ICD 10 code.

The annual Drug-Related and Drug Misuse Deaths, Northern Ireland release presents statistics on the most recent official death registration data available on drug-specific mortality across Northern Ireland (NI).  Drug related death figures were first published in Northern Ireland in 2009 with a time series going back to 1997.  Figures in this release relate to deaths registered in Northern Ireland where the underlying cause of death indicated drug poisoning, abuse or dependence or a controlled drug was involved.

The 2010-2020 edition of Drug-related and drug-misuse deaths contains a revised version of drug-misuse deaths which makes data for NI comparable with England and Wales. More information is available from the 2010-2020 report and the information paper on drug-related deaths, link to which are below.

There are two standard definitions associated with drug-related mortality: 

Drug-Related Death

This is when the underlying cause of death recorded on the death certificate is drug poisoning, drug abuse or drug dependence.  These deaths can be identified solely through the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).  The current National Statistics definition and the ICD ninth (ICD-09) and ICD tenth (ICD-10) revision codes used to define drug-related deaths are given in Table 1.

 

Table 1: ICD9 and ICD10 codes relating to Drug-Related Deaths

ICD-10 Underlying Cause Code

ICD-09 Underlying Cause Code

Description

F11–F16, F18–F19

292, 304, 305.2–305.9

Mental and behavioural disorders due to drug use (excluding alcohol and tobacco)

X40–X44

E850–E858

Accidental poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

X60–X64

E950.0–E950.5

Intentional self-poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

X85

E962.0

Assault by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

Y10–Y14

E980.0–E980.5

Poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances, undetermined intent

The second definition is a subset of the definition above and relates to deaths due to; 

Drug-Misuse Death

These are deaths where the underlying cause is drug poisoning, drug abuse or drug dependence OR where any of the substances controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971) are involved. Further details on this definition for ICD-10 codes are given in Table 2.

 Table 2: ICD10 codes relating to Drug-Misuse

ICD-10 Underlying Cause Code

ICD-09 Underlying Cause Code

Description

F11–F16, F18–F19

292, 304, 305.2–305.9

Mental and behavioural disorders due to drug use (excluding alcohol and tobacco)

X40–X44

E850–E858

Accidental poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

X60–X64

E950.0–E950.5

Intentional self-poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

X85

E962.0

Assault by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

Y10–Y14

E980.0–E980.5

Poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances, undetermined intent

* excluding alcohol, tobacco and volatile substances

 

 It should be noted that:

 1. This definition does not include every death which involved drugs, for example, transport accidents where the driver was under the influence of drugs are excluded.

2. Only deaths related to poisonings by drugs, medicaments and biological substances are included.  Poisonings by other types of chemicals are excluded.

NISRA publish a list of controlled drugs mentioned on death certificates in Northern Ireland.

Data

Information Papers