Deaths from drug poisoning affect a wide spectrum of residents in West Sussex. Whilst younger men account for a larger proportion, deaths are not attributable to a single cohort or demographic and as such, efforts to reduce early death require attention in many different areas.

This newly designed audit covers a three-year period (2015 to 2017) of all deaths from drug poisonings registered by the West Sussex coroner. It examines personal details; information relating to death; toxicology; mental health and social disorders; contact with services in the community; and thematic summaries of contexts and mechanisms leading to death.

Geographic areas have been identified as more concentrated areas of drug misuse deaths and outreach work can be targeted to these areas. Resolving the issues of compounding mental health problems appear to be a primary issue in reducing deaths from drug poisonings across a full spectrum of West Sussex residents. Messages around dangers of alcohol mixed with medications or other substances may need to be reconsidered or refocused.

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For other documents related to substance abuse and how it links to mental health, please visit our substance abuse-related needs assessments page.

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