Research Article

Mortality among drug addicts in Greater London.

Br Med J 1978; 2 doi: (Published 23 December 1978) Cite this as: Br Med J 1978;2:1742
  1. A H Ghodse,
  2. M Sheehan,
  3. B Stevens,
  4. C Taylor,
  5. G Edwards


    During January 1970 to December 1974, 134 deaths in people aged 10-50 years investigated by coroners in Greater London were recorded as being due to drug addiction. Over three-quarters of the addicts were under 30, and 105 (78%) were male; 55 (41%) were unknown to the Home Office. Barbiturate overdose accounted for over half of the deaths, though two-thirds of these were in people registered as addicts to notifiable drugs. Since the Home Office index is concerned with addiction to one class of drugs only, it fails to reflect accurately the prevalence of all serious forms of addiction. Owing to the continuous change in drug-taking behaviour, however, probably no one method of assessment can provide a complete picture, and thus complementary research methods are essential.