Alcohol-related deaths in Northern Ireland last year was the highest on record, a report from the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) has revealed.
NISRA said that 283 people died from drink problems in 2009, up from 276 the year before and setting a new high.
They also said that most cases involved mature people - those aged between 45 and 54 years-of-age.
The number of alcohol related deaths has actually risen by around 50% over the last decade while, last year there were less drug related deaths, some 84, where the cause of death was due to either legal or illegal drugs.
This is a decrease on the 89 drug related deaths registered in 2008. However, the number of drug related deaths registered in NI has doubled over the last decade.
The largest number of drug related deaths occurs in those aged between 35 and 44 years-of-age.
Both reports show that there are significantly higher numbers of drug and alcohol related deaths in areas of deprivation across Northern Ireland.
People living in the most deprived areas are five times more likely to die from a drug related death and four times more likely to die from an alcohol related death than those in the least deprived areas.
Deaths directly related to drugs and alcohol form a relatively small percentage (2.5%) of all deaths in Northern Ireland - in total there are just over 14,000 deaths registered each year.
The report said that the drugs commonly associated with addiction such as heroin and cocaine are mentioned on fewer death certificates than prescription drugs such as antidepressants. Between 1999 and 2009, just over a third (38%) of drug related deaths also included a mention of alcohol.
16 December 2010
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