Drug and Alcohol Deaths in Wales

Drug and alcohol are the fourth largest cause of death after CVD, cancer and respiratory diseases. This is true in Wales as it is in the rest of the UK. Data are taken from published ONS datasets: Alcohol-related deaths in England and Wales, deaths registered 1991 to 2012 and Deaths Related to Drug Poisoning in England and Wales, 2012. Deaths due to both alcohol and drugs has increased dramatically since the early 1990s, whether measured in terms of absolute numbers of deaths or in terms of death rates (i.e., deaths per 100,000 people). These are illustrated below,

Figure 1: The absolute numbers of deaths in Wales due to alcohol and drugs are plotted against year since 1991, showing the sexes separately.

Figure 2: The death rates in Wales due to alcohol and drugs are plotted against year since 1991, showing the sexes separately.

Figure 3: The male:female ratio of death rates due to drugs and alcohol are plotted against year since 1991. The alcohol death rate for men is roughly double that for women, whilst drug related death rates are (very roughly) four times greater for men.

Note that the drug death figures include deaths from legal as well as illegal drugs.

Fatal drug misuse is an even more serious problem in Wales than in England. Deaths Related to Drug Poisoning in England and Wales, 2012 draws this disturbing conclusion,

  • Mortality rates from drug misuse were significantly higher in Wales than in England in 2012, at 45.8 and 25.4 deaths per million population respectively.

Thus, the position of Welsh men is particularly serious in respect of drug and alcohol abuse.

Figure 1

Drug and alcohol deaths Wales

Figure 2

Drug and alcohol death rates Wales

Figure 3

Drug and alcohol death rate ratios Wales

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