FIGURES released have revealed that 75 people in Northern Ireland died last year from the effects of drugs misuse.
The statistics show that 57 men and 18 women died as a result of abusing drugs.
The drugs include illegal ones such as heroin and cocaine, and prescription medicines like sedatives and anti-depressants under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
However, there is no statistical information available yet to break down the 75 deaths in 2012 into banned or prescription drugs.
The figures for 2013 may come out higher after a spate of deaths in east Belfast over the summer months.
Some of the deaths there and in other parts of Northern Ireland are attributed to a deadly patch of Ecstasy tablets called ‘Green Rolexes’.
The PSNI’s Organised Crime Branch has seized batches of the drugs and have issued warnings to the public about their deadly composition.
Figures for the decade between 1999 and 2009 shows that prescription medicines were mentioned on more death certificates than anything else, by a wide margin.
Heroin, ecstacy and cocaine were the most commonly found illegal substances in the blood of those who died, according to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.
But more common was the painkiller paracetamol, which which can be bought over the counter.
Separate statistics on the geographical spread of drug-related deaths show that between 2007-2011 an area defined as inner north Belfast had the highest incidence, at 19 deaths.
This was followed by inner east Belfast, at 13; Greater Shankill, at 12; Falls/Clonard at 11 deaths and Crumlin/Ardoyne at ten.
Elsewhere, Newry had seven deaths; Lurgan had five deaths; Brownlow in Craigavon had four deaths and Ballymena had five deaths over that four-year period.