Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Health

Departmental Consultations

Photo of Thomas GouldThomas Gould (Cork North Central, Sinn Fein)
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360. To ask the Minister for Health if he will consider engaging with groups to draw up guidelines for the reporting of drug-related deaths. [10400/22]

Photo of Frank FeighanFrank Feighan (Sligo-Leitrim, Fine Gael)
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The National Drug-Related Deaths Index (NDRDI) is the national epidemiological database on drug and alcohol-related deaths and indirect deaths among people with a lifetime history of using drugs and/or were alcohol dependent, in Ireland. It was established so that the State can respond in a timely manner with accurate data on drug and alcohol-related mortality. It is maintained by the Health Research Board (HRB).

The NDRDI is jointly funded by the Department of Health and the Department of Justice. The NDRDI has a steering committee, co-chaired by the Department of Health and the Department of Justice, which includes among others, representatives of families affected by drug-related deaths, representatives from the Irish Coronial Service, An Garda Síochána, the State Laboratory, the Office of the State Pathologist and relevant HSE areas. It complies with the reporting requirements for European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction and as such is used to meet Ireland’s mandatory reporting requirements to the EU, UN and WHO.

In order to ensure a complete and accurate census of drug-related deaths it is necessary to use data from several sources. The main source of data comes from closed coronial files which is supplemented by data from the acute hospitals sector (through the Hospital In-Patient Enquiry Scheme), the Central Treatment List and from the General Mortality Register (through the Central Statistics Office).

The data are collected retrospectively on an annual basis and matched across sources to reduce duplication and ensure the widest range of data for each death. As well as demographic information, information on cause of death, drug misuse history and toxicology are also collected.

I am committed to reducing and preventing drug-related deaths. To this end, the NDRDI is a vital tool to assess the effectiveness of responses aimed at preventing deaths from drugs or alcohol.


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