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Number of males dying from drug-related causes has almost doubled in the last 10 years

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The number of males dying from drug-related causes in Northern Ireland has increased by 98% in the last 10 years. This is one of the findings of the statistics published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

The statistics show that 136 of the 16,036 deaths registered in Northern Ireland in 2017 were from drug-related causes. This is 60% more than was recorded a decade ago (86) but lower than the total in 2015 (144), which was also the highest on record. Drug-related deaths continue to account for less than 1% of total deaths registered in Northern Ireland each year.

74% (101) of the 136 drug-related deaths registered in Northern Ireland in 2017 were males. This is almost twice as many as recorded a decade ago (51). In contrast, female drug-related deaths in 2017 have remained unchanged (35) when compared with the 2007 total.

As in previous years, the largest number of drug-related deaths occurred in those aged between 25 and 34 years (37%), with less than 4% occurring in those aged 65 and over.

30% (40) of drug-related deaths had one drug listed on the death certificate, while 46% (62) of deaths listed three or more drugs. 2017 saw four times more deaths where Pregabalin was listed on the death certificate, with numbers increasing from 8 in 2016 to 33 in 2017.

81% of drug-related deaths were classed as drug-misuse deaths, compared to 56% in 2007. 40% of all drug-related deaths in 2017 involved the controlled drug Diazepam, compared with 24% in 2007.

The statistics also indicate that there are notably higher numbers of drug-related deaths in areas of deprivation across Northern Ireland. People living in the most deprived areas are four times more likely to die from a drug-related death than those in the least deprived areas.

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