Ireland Country Drug Report 2019

Drug-induced deaths

Drug-induced deaths are deaths directly attributable to the use of illicit drugs (i.e. poisonings and overdoses).

In 2015, the number of drug-induced deaths reported from a special register maintained by the Health Research Board remained stable at 224, compared with 223 deaths reported in 2014. The majority of those who died were male and in their late 30s. The mean age of victims in 2015 was 39 years, the highest ever recorded, mainly due to the increase in deaths among those aged 55 years or older compared with 2014.

Opioids were the drugs most commonly associated with drug-induced deaths, although they were frequently found together with other psychoactive substances, such as alcohol and prescription medicines.

The drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15-64 years) was 69 deaths per million in 2015.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.