National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Occasional Paper

Occasional Paper

Annex B

The old National Records of Scotland (NRS) definition

1. In previous years the analyses of drug-related deaths prepared by NRS covered the following categories (the relevant codes from the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD9), are given in brackets):

  1. Drug dependence (ICD9 304), excluding solvent abuse (ICD9 304.6);

  2. Accidental poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biologicals (ICD9 E850-E858); and

  3. Poisoning by solid or liquid substances, undetermined whether accidentally or purposely inflicted (ICD9 E980).

All known suicides were excluded, as were road traffic and other accidents that occurred under the influence of drugs and deaths from AIDS where the risk factor was believed to be the sharing of needles. The categories selected included deaths from occasional or experimental misuse of drugs and accidental overdoses of prescribed medicine as well as some unrecognised suicides. There was no selection based on the type of drug involved. However, to aid interpretation of the figures, tables categorised deaths according to whether drug dependence was known (or strongly suspected) or not known and, for the latter category, sub-groups based on the types of drug(s) involved.

2. Data for 2000 classified according to the old definition are presented in the table below. Note that the figures for 'persons known or suspected to be drug-dependent' are directly comparable with the figures for 'drug abuse' in Table 1 of the main paper. (Requires Adobe Acrobat.)

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Drug-related deaths, 1996 - 2000, old definition

Year Total Persons known or suspected to be drug-dependent Persons not known or suspected to be drug-dependent
Opiates etc. 2+ drugs 1 drug Drug not stated
1996 [Footnote 1] 270 175 15 9 38 33
1997 263 142 32 18 45 26
1998 276 179 30 7 37 23
1999 340 227 30 7 45 31
2000 [Footnote 2] 325 220 27 12 55 11

1. Revised

2. Excludes deaths associated with contaminated heroin

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