Thursday, 25 August 2011

Deaths Related to Drugs Poisoning.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) have recently published statistics on deaths related to drugs poisoning in England and Wales. The report paints a picture of an improving situation with a decrease in drug poisoning deaths which masks the true situation in Wales.

Two of the key findings of the report are:
  • The drug poisoning death rate fell significantly between 2009 and 2010 for males, but remained stable in females
  • The total number of drug misuse deaths was 1,784 in 2010, down slightly from 1,876 in 2009

The situation in Wales is that drug poisoning deaths in Wales INCREASED by 15% from 132 to 152 deaths between 2009/2010. The numbers of deaths increased for both males and females, from 112 to 120 for males and 20 to 32 deaths for females or 60%.

If we extend the timescales to 2006, the figures are even more pronounced with the numbers of drug poisoning deaths in England having increased by just under 10% for males whilst the figure for males in Wales is a 65% increase whilst for females the increase in England is 20% whilst the figures in Wales is a 128% increase.

The publication of these statistics on an England and Wales basis portrays a completely misleading picture of the situation in Wales and it is no easy task to separate figures for Wales within the database.

Perhaps now is the time to ask the Welsh Health minister to make a statement on this data and initiatives that the Welsh Government have introduced to reduce deaths related to drugs poisoning.

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