Figures National Statistics Office Drug-related deaths in 2021 are up 6.2 percent from the previous year, with two-thirds of those deaths related to drug abuse.
This is the ninth annual increase in drug-related deaths and the highest since records began more than a quarter century ago in 1993.
The data released on Tuesday also showed a “significant” rise in deaths linked to new psychoactive drugs, driven mainly by an increase in benzodiazepine-related deaths.
The rate of drug abuse-related deaths in 2021 was 53.2 per million people compared to 52 in 2020, while the rate for men was much higher than for women at 77.5 compared to 29.3 per million.
According to the ONS, a possible explanation for the increase could be that there is an older group of drug users who suffer the effects of long-term use and are becoming more susceptible to fatal overdoses.
The North East has been identified as the region with the highest number of drug misuse deaths since 2013 and has significantly higher rates than the rest of England.
The ONS said in a statement that “death rates from drug misuse have marked north-south differences”.
According to the annual release, methadone-related deaths increased “significantly” in 2021, with 663 deaths compared to 516 deaths in 2020.
Mike Trans, chief executive of the Forward Trust, said the rise in drug-related deaths comes amid a rise in people mixing substances known as “multiple drug use”.
He told the PA news agency: “I think the pandemic has made things worse. Most of the deaths are what we call deaths of despair, people who are lonely, they use drugs in situations where they have no support or other people to protect them. And it was definitely worse during the pandemic.
“So I think it has an effect and that’s something we have to protect. We need to provide much better support and engagement for people who live very isolated and marginalized lives.”
The ONS found 258 deaths from “new psychoactive substances” in 2021 – an 88 per cent increase on the previous year. A large number of these deaths, 171, were related benzodiazepines.
119 people died as a result of mental and behavioral disorders caused by drug use, and four died as a result of attacks by drugs, medicines and biological agents.
Last December the Government pledged £780 million in funding for drug treatment services over three years.
The charity Turning Point has called on the government to continue investing in health, housing and social care services to “save lives”.
A spokesman said: “The pandemic has exacerbated an existing public health crisis, but we are clear that drug-related deaths are preventable.
“At a time of political uncertainty, these new statistics provide a loud and clear call, whatever your political allegiance.
Cllr David Fothergill, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “These statistics released today are very worrying, drug-related deaths have increased dramatically since 2020.
“Every drug misuse death is a tragedy and councils are absolutely determined to ensure vulnerable people have the right support and treatment.
“Drug overdose deaths are preventable. Implementing strong practices, along with policies or protocols to support those most at risk, can prevent overdoses and subsequent fatalities.”
He said the growing demand for mortality required more than well-run and effective treatment services, it required working with the police, social care, housing, mental health services and prisons.
The Northeast has the highest drug-related death rate for the ninth consecutive year
Source link The Northeast has the highest drug-related death rate for the ninth consecutive year