NI drug related mortality rates ‘five times higher’ in deprived areas

The annual report looks at inequalities between the top 20% least deprived areas and bottom 20% most deprived areas of NI. Credit: PA

Drug related mortality rates are five times higher in Northern Ireland’s most deprived areas compared to its least deprived areas, according to an annual report into health inequalities.

The report also shows that alcohol specific mortality rates are four times higher in deprived areas.

At regional level, the report published by the Department of Health found that both male and female life expectancy has improved, but with no notable change in the deprivation gap between its most and least deprived areas – seven years for men and 4.8 years for women.

Rates of premature mortality have generally decreased over the period 2017-2019.

However, the report finds that large inequality gaps continue to persist.

The rate of respiratory mortality among under 75s in the most deprived areas is three-and-a-half times that in the least deprived.

At health trust and local government district level, similar to the regional picture, deprivation-related inequality was found to be most prominent in indicators relating to alcohol and drugs, self-harm, smoking during pregnancy, and teenage births.

The Health Inequalities Annual Report is one of a series of reports produced as part of the NI Health & Social Care Inequalities Monitoring System (HSCIMS).