Big rise in accidental drug deaths
By KEITH WALLIS
THERE was a 20 per cent leap in the number of accidental drugs deaths last year.
The Coroner's annual report, released yesterday, showed 134 people had died of accidental overdoses, compared with 112 in 1993. In 1992, the figure was only 72.
'We do have serious concerns about the figures, which show a steady increase. It is a worry,' said Coroner Warner Banks.
Part of the problem was the lack of long-term success of detoxification programmes.
'People come off detoxification, go back on to drugs and take them at the same level as before. But the body has lost its immunity to these higher levels,' Coroner Banks said.
Overall, 30,106 people died in the territory last year. Of those deaths, 6,955 were investigated by the police. These figures are down from the previous two years.
Coroner Banks was also concerned by the increase in the number of suicides, which rose by 117 cases to 405.
'We are disturbed to find the number of suicides has gone up,' he said. But he noted that the suicide rate was still lower than in most countries.
Those most at risk are people between 30 and 39 who have family responsibilities and those over 60 who suffer serious illness or feel their lives are over.
But more than half of those who committed suicide had been unemployed, which reflected the stress and pain the jobless faced, he said.