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Drink-drive clampdown leads to fall in drug-use road deaths

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The number has dropped by 62pc since 2006 and it is largely due to “tough drink-driving campaigns”

The number has dropped by 62pc since 2006 and it is largely due to “tough drink-driving campaigns”

The number has dropped by 62pc since 2006 and it is largely due to “tough drink-driving campaigns”

TOUGHER drink-driving campaigns have contributed to a "sustained fall" in the number of deaths among drug users linked to road traffic collisions, a new report has revealed.

The number has dropped by 62pc since 2006 and it is largely due to "tough drink-driving campaigns" by the Road Safety Authority and the introduction of random breath testing, the Health Research Board's National Drug-Related Deaths Index said

However, the report said that overall the number of drug-related deaths decreased just slightly, from 645 in 2011 to 633 in 2012. There were 350 deaths from people as a result of poisoning, the toxic effect on the body. Drug users accounted for 283 of the deaths, with hanging or medical causes such as liver disease also included.

Alcohol

It added: "What is clear is that alcohol remains the substance implicated in most poisonings." A combination of drugs were taken in more than half of poisonings and the number of people who die by hanging is continuing to rise.

It revealed:

• 50pc of people who died were 40 years-of-age or younger;

• Three out of four deaths were men. Alcohol was involved in one in every three poisoning deaths;

• Benzodiazepines, such as Valium, were involved in one out of three poisoning deaths. Methadone was implicated in one out of four poisoning deaths. In most of these deaths, methadone was mixed with another drug;

• More than half of people died as a result of taking a mixture of drugs.

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Since 2004 there has been a 60pc increase in the number of deaths where people have taken several drugs. There were 61 deaths involving heroin; showing a sustained decline in heroin deaths from a peak of 115 in 2009. More than one in three people who died from poisoning had a history of mental illness.

Half of those who died as a result of trauma were 29 years of age or younger. Hanging accounted for just over half of trauma deaths.

More than half of those who died from traumatic causes had a history of mental illness. Deaths from medical causes also increased from 132 in 2011, to 143 in 2012.

The majority who died from medical causes were between 35 and 59 years of age and men accounted for seven in every 10 deaths. The most common medical causes of death were heart and liver related.

An extra €2.1m is going to drug services next year.


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