Drug deaths hit their highest level for 15 years

heroin

The number of people killed by drug abuse in London is at its highest level this century.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 298 people died due to misuse of illegal substances in 2015, the highest number since 1999. It is also the highest death rate since the late 90s – 35 per million residents.

The rate of drug deaths has been increasing since 2012 after a downward trend this century from high points in the late 90s.  But although it has risen, the capital still has the second lowest mortality rate of all the regions in England and Wales. Only the East Midlands has a lower rate than London. The highest death rates are now in the North East, North West, Wales, and Yorkshire and Humberside.

Drug death rate regions-2

This is a turnaround from 1993, when the current data record begins.  London had the highest mortality rate and accounted for 23% of all deaths.  In 2015 that had halved to 12% of deaths as the problem of illegal drug misuse has become more widespread.

Drug death comparison-2

Across London, Haringey and central areas of Westminster, Lambeth, Southwark Camden, Islington and Tower Hamlets have that most serious problems.  The data at borough level is gathered for three-year periods due to very low numbers in some areas.  From 2013 to 2015, 43 people died in Haringey and 42 in both Westminster and Lambeth.

map drug deeaths 2015-2

There were fewer than 20 deaths in the period in most of the outlying boroughs, and in Merton, Barking and Dagenham and among the small population of the City of London the number of deaths was in single figures.

Source data

See also

Low drug-related death rates hide middle-aged heroin problem

Teenage survey finds that Richmond has highest level of cannabis use

Violence, disruption and drugs – why 20,000 pupils were excluded from school last year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flu blamed for winter deaths hitting 15-year high

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Photo: Alexander Raths ┃Shutterstock.com

There were 4,000 excess winter deaths in London in 2014/15, the highest rate for 15 years. And much the blame is being placed on the failure of the flu vaccine to protect the vulnerable from a particularly nasty strain of the virus.

Death rates in winter are higher than in summer months, particularly for the elderly and vulnerable. The numbers are measured according to an index called the Excess Winter Mortality. This calculates the rate of deaths above the average for non-winter months.

The winter 2014/15 was the worse since 1999/2000 when there were 5,870 excess deaths recorded. Although the figures are bad for last winter, London fared better than most other regions of England and Wales. The rate of excess deaths in London was 26.3%. Only the Wales, the West Midland and Yorkshire and Humberside recorded lower rates.

Winter Death index regions

Looking at the detailed figures according to age ranges show that while London had lower rates of death for people below pensionable age and those 75-84 it had rates slightly higher than England and Wales for the 64-75 age group and fractionally higher in the over 85s.

winter deaths london ages

National figures show that women were more vulnerable than men in all the age categories above 65. Men had a higher rate in the 0-64 group.

The impact of the flu is apparent in the cause of death data. According to the Office for National Statistics the proportion of people dying of respiratory diseases was 78% above the average for non-winter months. In the over 85s it was nearly twice the rate.

Doctors are hoping that the apparent failure of the flu vaccine to protect people last winter does not push down immunisation rates this winter, as reported by Urbs.

Source data

See also

Health and wealth – an East/West divide when it comes to a flu jab

98,000 not claiming their pension in a tale of two Londons

Women in London will live longer than anywhere in the UK

Suicide rate lowest in 20 years and lowest in England and Wales

homeless 2London has the lowest rate of suicide of any region of England and Wales but the figures are far from even across the capital and some boroughs have rates that are above the national average.

The latest data available from the Office for National Statistics shows that in 2013 516 Londoners over the age of 15 killed themselves. That is a rate of 7.9 per 100,000 people. This is the lowest rate in the capital in the past 20 years. The highest rate in England is in the North East, and in Wales the rate is double that of London.

Suicide regional rates

The national figures reveal that 3 times more men than women commit suicide. The majority of men killed themselves through suffocation. This is also the most common method among women, but women are more likely than men to poison or drown themselves.

An age breakdown into groups of 5 years shows that people aged 45-49 have the highest rate of suicide. It is rare in those under 20 but climbs steadily up to the 45-49 age group.  Rates drop significantly at retirement age of 65 and only rise again in those over 80.

Because the actual numbers are small we have looked at averages over the past 3 years of data to examine rates at borough level. While the City of London has by far the highest rate the actual numbers are so small given the low population of the area that comparison of rates is not reliable.

In the 32 boroughs, Westminster has the highest rate at 12 per 100,000 people followed by Hammersmith and Fulham with 11.5. These proportions exceed the rate for England for the same period of 10.4 per 100,000 residents. The lowest rates are in Harrow, Greenwich and Newham.

Suicide london map

 

Source data

See also

Low drug-related deaths rates hide middle-aged heroin problem

Low ranking on infant deaths puts London behind other cities

For help and more information: Samaritans

 

 

 

 

 

 

Low ranking on infant deaths puts London behind other cities

hLondon has a higher infant death rate than many other wealthy international capitals, according to a study by Save the Children.

As part of a wide assessment of infant mortality the charity looked at urban areas across the globe, including 25 cities in wealthy developed countries.  London came 19th in the list of 25 that was topped by Prague.  The infant death rate in London is 4 in every 1000 live births.  In Prague, Stockholm and Oslo it is half that.

Infant mortality

Washington DC came bottom of the ranking with a death rate of 7.9 infants per thousand.  Within the US capital there is a wide discrepancy with the death rate 10 times higher in the poorest neighbourbood as the richest one.

Urban populations are growing worldwide, and while this has led to better survival rates for children under 5, according to Save the Children, there is a growing gap between urban rich and urban poor.  Survival rates for the poorest children in city slum areas are as bad or worse than those for rural areas.

State of the World’s Mothers – the Urban Disadvantage