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  • The National Drug-related Deaths Database (Scotland) Report 2011

    Posted on May 1st, 2013 TimB No comments

    In 2011, there were 438 cases identified as eligible for inclusion in the NDRDD cohort (an increase from 365 in 2010).

    1. Over three quarters (78.3%) were males, over half (53.4%) had lived in the most deprived areas in Scotland and the 35-44 years age group accounted for the highest proportion of deaths (38.1%)
    2. Over two fifths (44.5%) of the cohort, where known, were a parent or parental figure. A total of 331 children lost a parent or parental figure to a drug-related death.
    3. Where known, nearly two thirds (63%) had a history of intravenous (IV) drug use, which is a lower proportion than in 2010 (70.8%). Over three quarters (77.4%) of the 2011 cohort had a medical condition recorded in the 6 months prior to death. IV drug users had a higher prevalence of medical conditions compared to those who were not known to have been an IV drug user.
    4. The prevalence of Hepatitis C amongst the drug-related deaths cohort has steadily increased over the period 2009-2011.
    5. Where known, almost two thirds of individuals (64.5%) had been in contact with a drug treatment service at some point in their lives.
    6. Where known, in the 6 months prior to death, one third (34.3%) had been released from police custody and almost one fifth (18.1%) had been released from prison.
    7. This year’s report includes data on drugs ‘present’ in the body and drugs ‘implicated’ in the death. The presence of a drug in toxicology of the deceased individual does not necessarily mean that the drug was implicated in (contributed to) the death.
    8. The drug most frequently found to be present in the body at death was diazepam (81.4%) followed by methadone (57.3%), heroin/morphine (51.5%), anti-depressants (37.1%) and alcohol (37.1%). In 97% of cases there was more than one drug present. Opioids (methadone, heroin, morphine or buprenorphine) were present in 87.2% of cases.
    9. The drug most frequently implicated in the death was methadone (53.4%), followed by heroin/morphine (38.6%), diazepam (23.1%) and alcohol (21.2%). More than one drug was implicated in the death in the majority of cases (68.9%).
    10. In relation to drugs present, the proportion of deaths with heroin/morphine and alcohol has decreased over the period 2009-2011, while the proportion of deaths with methadone, diazepam and anti-depressants has increased over this period.
    11. In 2011, the majority of individuals (150, 60.7%) with methadone found in their toxicology were not in receipt of a methadone prescription at the time of death.
    12. Where toxicology information was known, a higher proportion of females (72.3%) had methadone present compared with males (53.1%). This pattern is similar to 2010, (56.6% and 41.8% for females and males respectively), although the gap between females and males has grown in 2011.
    13. Where known, almost three quarters (73.8%) of individuals in the 2011 NDRDD cohort were not currently in receipt of a prescribed substitute drug.

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