Last update: 22 August 2023
Some extra tables are described in the sections which follow, and available via links at the end of those sections.
Drugs and other substances which were reported as being present in the body for drug-related deaths on the basis of the standard definition and drug poisoning deaths on the basis of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) ‘wide’ definition: 2000 to 2022
Several of the publication’s tables provide the numbers of deaths for which certain drugs were reported as being present in the body. However, those tables cannot cover all the substances which have been reported for such deaths, because there have been so many: those tables contain figures only for a selection of drugs (for example, heroin/morphine and methadone).
Some people need to know the numbers of deaths for which certain ‘less common’ drugs (or other substances) have been reported. Therefore, two extra tables are available via the link below. The first table lists all the drugs and other substances that have been reported as present in the body for all drug-related deaths on the basis of the standard definition; the second table does the same for all drug poisoning deaths on the basis of the ONS ‘wide’ definition.
Both tables have two lists of the names of drugs and other substances, reflecting the way in which the data have been collected since 2008. The first list is of the substances which were implicated in, or which contributed to, the cause of death (as reported from 2008; up to 2007, this list covers all the substances which were reported); the second list is of substances which were present but which were not contributed to have had any direct contribution to the death (as reported from 2008; this list has no information for the years up to 2007).
NHS Board and council statistics for certain drugs for 2022, on the 'all drugs found present in the body' basis (not the standard basis for figures for individual drugs)
With effect from the publication of Drug-related Deaths in Scotland in 2009, the normal basis for the National Records of Scotland figures for individual drugs for 2008 and subsequent years was changed to 'drugs which were implicated in, or which potentially contributed to, the cause of death'. Further information about this change is given in (e.g.) paragraph 1.3 and Section 2 of Drug-related Deaths in Scotland in 2009.
However, there is also some interest in statistics which cover all the drugs reported by a pathologist, including any 'which were present, but which were not considered to have had any direct contribution to this death'. Therefore, the extra tables that are available via the links below provide figures for individual drugs, for NHS Boards and councils, on this 'all drugs found present in the body' basis. These statistics are on the same basis as, and so may be compared with, the figures for 2008 which were published in Tables HB3 and C3 of
Drug-related Deaths in Scotland in 2008 - except that NHS Board boundary changes mean that, in some cases, they are not directly comparable to what was published in previous years. It must also be remembered that these figures are not on the standard basis.