New figures reveal more than one fatal drug overdose in Ireland each day
There were 376 "drug poisoning" deaths in Ireland in 2017, according to new statistics published by the Health Research Board.
Such deaths are due to the toxic effect of one or more drug, and are more commonly known as overdoses. The figure represents a 2% increase compared to 2016 and is the highest recorded level of overdose deaths in Ireland.
The median age of those dying by overdose was 43 years and 70% of all those who died were men. 41% of overdose deaths occurred in Dublin city.
More than half (58%) of poisoning deaths involved polydrugs, with an average of four different drugs involved.
Exactly two-thirds of overdose or poisoning deaths also involved what are known as "licit" drugs — these are drugs which can be prescribed, or bought over the counter.
Half of those cases involved either methadone or diazepam, which are used in the treatment of heroin addiction and alcohol addiction, respectively. Alcohol was also involved in one-third of overdose deaths.
Another 410 deaths (including causes like suicide and cardiac arrest) were linked to drug use by the Health Research Board, bringing the total to 786.
The latest HRB report can be read here.