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Release: Deaths Related to Drug Poisoning in England and Wales, 2011

Released: 29 August 2012 Next edition: 28 August 2013


Vanessa Fearn

Health and Life Events Division

Telephone: +44 (0)1633 455341

Categories: Health and Social Care, Health of the Population, Causes of Death, Poisoning, Lifestyles and Behaviours, Drug use, Alcohol and Smoking, Drug Misuse, Population, Deaths, Mortality Rates, Drug-related Deaths

Frequency of release: Annually

Language: English

Geographical coverage: England and Wales

Geographical breakdown: Country

  • There were 1,772 male and 880 female drug poisoning deaths (involving both legal and illegal drugs) registered in 2011, a 6 per cent decrease since 2010 for males and a 3 per cent increase for females.

  • In 2011 the drug poisoning mortality rate was 63.8 deaths per million population for males and 29.9 deaths per million population for females, both were unchanged compared with 2010.

  • The number of male drug misuse deaths decreased by 14 per cent from 1,382 in 2010 to 1,192 in 2011; female deaths increased by 3 per cent from 402 in 2010 to 413 in 2011.

  • The male mortality rate from drug misuse decreased significantly between 2010 and 2011 (from 50.8 to 43.4 deaths per million population), but remained stable for females (14.4 deaths per million population in 2011).

  • Deaths involving heroin/morphine decreased by 25 per cent compared with 2010, but they were still the substances most commonly involved in drug poisoning deaths (596 deaths in 2011).

  • The highest mortality rate from drug misuse was in 30 to 39-year-olds (110.0 and 30.2 deaths per million population for males and females respectively).

About this bulletin

This statistical bulletin presents the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics on deaths related to drug poisoning in England and Wales for the last five years. Data from 1993 are available to download, and are discussed in the commentary to provide context to the latest (2011) data. Figures are presented by cause of death, sex, age and substance(s) involved in the death.

Additional information

Information about the underlying mortality data, including details on how the data is collected and coded, data quality and legislation are available in the Mortality metadata and Quality and Methodology Information for Mortality Statistics in England and Wales.

Specific information about the quality of drug-related deaths data can be found in the Quality and Methodology Information (QMI) paper.

Further ONS releases based on death registrations

Mortality Statistics: Deaths registered in England and Wales (Series DR) is an annual publication containing a range of detailed reference tables, including the number of deaths broken down by cause of death, sex and five-year age group. 

The 20th Century Mortality Files are a record of mortality in England and Wales from 1901 to 2000 while the 21st Century Mortality Files are a record of mortality in England and Wales from 2001 onwards.

Injury and Poisoning mortality, England and Wales presents annual data on deaths from injury and poisoning in England and Wales using a matrix of mechanism by intent developed by the International Collaborative Effort (ICE) on injury statistics.

UK suicides present suicide numbers and rates in the United Kingdom, England and Wales, and Regions in England.

UK data

For mortality data for other UK countries please see statistics on deaths in Scotland and statistics on deaths in Northern Ireland.


We welcome feedback on the content, format and relevance of this release. User Engagement in the Health and Life Events Division outlines the divisional approach to user engagement. 

These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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