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The National Programme on Substance Use Mortality (NPSUM)

The National Programme on Substance Use Mortality (NPSUM)  drugs

The NPSUM (formerly known as the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths - NPSAD) was established in 1997 to collate reports from coroners in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland pertaining to deaths related to psychoactive drug use. This includes both illicit substances, such as LSD and heroin, and licensed medications, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics. As of June 2023, the NPSUM has collated over 50,000 individual case reports.

The NPSUM processes these reports and conducts research in a number of different areas, and currently includes projects to inform the clinical management of people who use drugs, to aid in the design of harm reduction strategies, to investigate potential drug-drug interactions, and to advise national and international drug policy.

Data is available on request from the NPSUM. This includes data fields regarding:

  • Demographic information (e.g., gender, age, ethnicity, living arrangements, employment status, usual address)
  • Cause(s) and manner of death, including location of death and relevant circumstances
  • Past medical and social histories, including medications prescribed to the deceased

For further details and potential costings please contact the NPSUM team at

For access to academic publications since 2020, please contact us at the same address.

NPSUM data collection and analysis is not subject to the Data Privacy Act or by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) due to these legislations only applying to the personal data of living individuals.


The overall aim of the NPSUM is to improve the healthcare strategy to best support people who use drugs.

Project status: Ongoing

Principal Investigator


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