Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Fentanyl drug deaths rise by almost a third in England and Wales

Britain’s looming opioid crisis? Fentanyl deaths rise by almost a third in one year 003 David Devins Global Look Press
Celia Hoffman | 07 August, 2018, 21:06

Cocaine deaths have reached their highest numbers since records began, official figures reveal.

Deaths caused by the drug fentanyl rose by almost 30% a year ago, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Conversely, Portugal, which decriminalised personal drug possession in 2001, has a drug-related deaths rate which is 17 times lower than that of England and Wales.

Last week Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said "hypocritical" middle-class users were behind the trend which is partly driving the increase in gangland killings. The rate of drug-related deaths has soared since the Conservative Party came to power in 2010, with a 30 per cent increase in heroin/morphine deaths during this period, and a staggering 200 per cent increase in cocaine-related deaths.

A total of 3,756 deaths involving legal and illegal drugs were registered in England and Wales in 2017.

Meanwhile a global survey found that people living in England and Scotland could, on average, get cocaine delivered to their front door faster than a takeaway pizza.

The number rose from 371 in 2016 to 432 past year, but it is not possible to distinguish if the substance related to these deaths was powder cocaine or crack cocaine.

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This equates to 66.1 deaths per one million people, 41 per cent higher than 2012's rate of 46.6.

The number of cocaine deaths rose from 371 in 2016 to 432 previous year - but it is unsure whether these were down to the powder or crack.

Health analysis statistician for the ONS, Ellie Osborn, said: "The figures published today show that the level of drug poisoning deaths in 2017 remained stable".

And fatalities from so-called "legal highs", such as spice, reduced by more than a half in 2017, from 123 in 2016 to 61. The north-east had the highest rate of drugs deaths, with 83.2 deaths per 1 million people. The truth is that most drug related deaths are preventable.

Ian Hamilton, a drug researcher at York University, told MailOnline: 'More people now die due to drugs than as a result of fatal auto accidents.

He told the BBC: 'The UK government has nowhere left to hide. Instead we are seeing a disconnected, localised approach that fails to protect vulnerable people, and an overarching national strategy that primarily harms people who already marginalised. Majority have had very hard, often traumatic lives and we're letting them down if we don't give them the best care that we can. "Everyone deserves help, and we know that every person can recover with the right support".

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