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Drugs a big factor in unexplained deaths

The number of cases where drugs have contributed to sudden or unexplained deaths in Clare has almost doubled on the same figure last year, The Clare Champion can reveal.

Statistics show that drugs were a contributory factor in 20% of sudden or unexplained deaths that occurred in 2010. In just under half of these cases, heroin was identified as having contributed to death.
Of the 29 cases of sudden or unexplained deaths investigated in 2010 heroin was identified in two cases as being among the contributory causes of death, while other drugs were identified as a factor in an additional four deaths that occurred that year. Furthermore, in three cases alcohol was established as a contributory factor.
A recently released report from the Health and Safety Authority announced there was a dramatic increase in the number of workplace deaths reported on farms nationally in 2010 and according to details obtained by The Clare Champion there were three workplace accidents in the county in 2010, of which one occurred in a farm setting.
According to the HSA, 25 people were killed on farms in 2010, compared with 11 in 2009, an increase of 127%. The statutory body also noted in this report that nationally there has been a decrease in the number of fatal accidents in the construction sector.
Of the 29 cases of sudden or explained deaths investigated in Clare, just one verdict of suicide was recorded by the county coroner in 2010.
Further statistics show that 34% of the investigated deaths in 2010 involved hanging, compared to 56% of the 2009 figure. A further 10% of the sudden or unexplained deaths investigated in Clare last year relate to bodies recovered at or near the Cliffs of Moher.
The County Coroner Isobel O’Dea said she was not in a position to comment on these statistics.


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