Drug deaths in England and Wales hit record - British Herald
August 11, 2022
Health IN UK 01

Drug deaths in England and Wales hit record

The latest ONS figures show that 4,859 deaths related to drug poisoning were registered in 2021 in England and Wales, equivalent to a rate of 84.4 deaths per million people.

One of its drug advisers has accused the government of not caring about the growing number of heroin addicts dying from an overdose.

When asked if anyone cared about the rising number of heroin-related deaths, Dr Emily Finch, a senior member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists who sits on the government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, told Sky News: “I think that’s one of the problems. I don’t think, generally speaking, the general population do.

“I think many people, and perhaps that’s reflected in the government, don’t care much and that is why they have allowed a treatment system to largely atrophy.

“Some people care, there are good reasons to care: heroin users spend a lot of time in hospital, they cost us a lot of money, some of them commit crime. Those are all good reasons why supporting them properly, getting them into high-quality treatment, probably in the end would save society money.”

The latest ONS figures show that 4,859 deaths related to drug poisoning were registered in 2021 in England and Wales, equivalent to a rate of 84.4 deaths per million people; this is 6.2% higher than the rate in 2020.

Approximately half of all drug poisoning deaths registered in 2021 involved an opiate, with the opiate rate likely impacted by the pandemic as a large number of rough sleepers were impacted.

Delays to death certificate registrations mean these deaths will span 2020-2021.

A government spokesperson said: “Our landmark drug strategy will help rebuild drug treatment and recovery services to better support people through recovery and tackle the criminal supply chains which fuel illegal drug markets.

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