HL Deb 16 June 1980 vol 410 cc955-7WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many people a year (a) die from, and (b) are hospitalised for illnesses related to, (1) cigarettes, (2) alcohol, (3) heroin, (4) cannabis.


Cigarettes and the misuse of alcohol and drugs play a significant part in deaths from a variety of causes and in a variety of illnesses; the precise contribution of each to mortality and illness generally is not known.

(1) Cigarettes

The information is not available in the form requested; but in 1977 the estimated total number of discharges and deaths from NHS non-psychiatric hospitals in England and Wales, classified under diseases regarded as related to smoking, was 215,200.

(2), (3) and (4) Alcohol, Heroin and Cannabis

(a) Deaths

The following table gives numbers of deaths attributed to alcohol or drug dependence in England and Wales in 1978, the latest year for which statistics are available. The table also includes the number of deaths assigned to cirrhosis of liver which is closely, though not exclusively, associated with excessive drinking. Deaths attributed to drug dependdence on heroin are not separately identified in the International Classification of Diseases. Any such deaths are included with other deaths assigned to drug dependence on opium, opium alkaloids and their derivatives.

ICD Number (1) Number of deaths
291 Alcoholic psychosis 2
303 Alcoholism 174
N979 Adverse effects of alcohol in combination with specified medicinal agents 276(2)
N980 Toxic effects of alcohol 98
571 Cirrhosis of Liver 1,926
304.0 Drug dependence on opium, opium alkaloids and their derivatives 21
304.5 Drug dependence on cannabis sativa
N965.0 Adverse effects of opiates and synthetic analogues alone or in combination with other drugs and/or alcohol 60(2)
(1) International Classification of Diseases, 1965 (8th Revision).
(2) Includes six deaths attributed to alcohol in combination with opium derivatives (ICD N979.0). Included in the above there were six deaths from poisoning where heroin or cannabis was mentioned at death registration: heroin—four deaths (including one death with alcohol); cannabis with alcohol—one death; cannabis with heroin, tuinal, valium—one death.

(b) Hospitalisation

The following table gives information on hospital admissions and discharges in England and Wales for 1977, the latest year for which full statistics are available.

Admissions to mental illness hospitals Primary or secondary diagnosis Number
Alcoholism or alcoholic psychosis 14,824
Drug Dependence(1) 1,979
Estimated discharges and deaths from non-psychiatric hospitals
Primary diagnosis Number
Alcoholism 4,440
Alcoholic psychosis 190(2)
Cirrhosis of the Liver (alcoholic) 2,440
Drug dependence 380
including cannabis sativa 0
opiates 20(2)
(1) It is not possible to indicate which was the drug of dependence.
(2) Based on samples of less than 20 which may affect the reliability of the estimate.