William Eichler 03 August 2022

Sharp increase in drug deaths ‘very concerning’, council chiefs say

Sharp increase in drug deaths ‘very concerning’, council chiefs say image
Image: dindumphoto/Shutterstock.com.

The over 6% increase in the number of drug related deaths in England and Wales is ‘very concerning’, local authority leaders say.

The latest Office for National Statistic (ONS) figures on deaths related to drug poisoning in England and Wales found that the number of deaths recorded in 2021 was 6.2% higher than the rate recorded in 2020.

There were 4,859 deaths related to drug poisoning registered in 2021 in England and Wales, equivalent to a rate of 84.4 deaths per million people, according to the ONS. In 2020 it was 79.5 deaths per million.

Commenting on the new figures, Cllr David Fothergill, chairman of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Community Wellbeing Board described the statistics as ‘very concerning’ and said that every death to drug misuse was a ‘tragedy’.

‘Many drug overdose deaths are preventable. Ensuring robust practices are in place, along with the policies or protocols to support those at the greatest risk, can prevent overdoses and subsequent fatalities,’ he continued.

‘As well as this, we must support and expand the provision of naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an opiate overdose and provide overdose training for drug service users, drug users not in treatment, family and friends, hostel residents and others.

‘Commissioning good quality and effective drug treatment services is essential. But the rising number of deaths demands more. Working in partnership with the police, social care, housing, mental health and prisons, councils can play a vital role in ensuring everyone affected gets the help they need.’

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