Target on drug-related deaths missed

The government has missed its target to cut drug-related deaths in England and Wales by a fifth from 1999 to 2004, according to figures published yesterday.

Although the 2003 total of 1,255 deaths was 20 per cent lower than 1999’s 1,571, the number increased again in 2004 to 1,427, only 9 per cent lower than the 1999 base, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Drug abuse or dependency was the underlying cause of almost 45 per cent of the 16,088 deaths related to drug misuse from 1993 to 2004.

A third were due to accidental overdoses, while more than 10 per cent were attributed to “intentional self-poisoning”.

Heroin/morphine were the most common substances mentioned on death certificates.



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