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Hidden Killers

Taken from the Irish Independent, Monday July 6, 1998

Gruesome toll of alcohol abuse

Alcohol abuse was the cause of almost one in 12 deaths investigated at Dublin City Coroner's Court in the last six months. A survey found 18 people died from the toxic effects of alcohol and as a result of choking on the own vomit because of unconsciousness.

The deaths were split almost evenly between men and women, but the age profile was older than other drug deaths with almost half of the victims aged over 50 and 72pc over 35 years old. The youngest victims were in the late twenties. The average age was almost 47.

The survey also found that two-thirds of victims of alcohol deaths were single people. A 62-year old Dublin woman collapsed and died after consuming a large amount of alcohol last August. A toxicology analysis showed a blood alcohol level of 513 milligrams - more than six times the drink driving limit.

An inquest in February heard a 50 year old man had a blood alcohol level of almost eight times the drink driving limit when brought to hospital. He later died from acute alcohol poisoning.

Pedestrians face highest risk of dying in traffic

Pedestrians - many under the influence of alcohol - are at the greatest risk of dying on our roads, a new survey has revealed. The survey of inquests found over 35pc of those killed in road traffic accidents were walking or crossing roads.

Vehicle drivers and their passengers accounted for one-in-four of the 52 deaths. The figures emerged from and analysis of deaths investigated by Dublin City Coroners Court in the first six months of the year.

Half of those killed were under the age of 24, while almost one quarter were under 18. Almost 80pc of those killed in road traffic accidents were men. Motorcycle crashes led to the deaths of 10 young bikers under the age of 18 on the roads. The youngest motorbike victim was 15.

An 81 year old man died when the car he was driving with a frosted over windscreen, crashed into a lamp post. The car veered into the poll within yards of where he lived

Suicides claim more lives, than roads, drugs

More than half of those who died of overdoses of illicit drugs were under the age of 24, a survey of inquests has revealed. The survey found drug overdoses claimed the lives of 38 people, with 30 taking too much or a combination of illicit drugs, and eight taking an overdose of prescribed drugs. The figures showing the abuse of deadly drugs by young people emerged as part of an analysis of deaths investigated at Dublin City Coroners Court.

Figure 2

Figure 3 Dublin City Coroners Court survey - first six months of 1998

The youngest victim was a 15-year old male who injected an overdose of heroin. The court also heard of a 17-year old male who died after taking a combination of drugs including heroin, methadone, cocaine and sedatives. Five young men under the age of 17 died of overdoses. Overdose was the cause of one in five of the deaths investigated by the coroner in the six- month period. Three out of four deaths were due to taking a number of drugs at the same time and effects of the combined toxicity.

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