Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

Drug deaths on the rise in Fenland says new statistics

Drug deaths on the rise in Fenland says new statistics

The ONS figures also show a rise in deaths involving cocaine for the sixth consecutive year.

There were 75 fatalities linked to the opioid past year, an increase of 29 per cent from 2016 when there were 58.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there were 371 cocaine deaths in 2016, and 139 in 2012.

Some 3,756 deaths involving legal and illegal substances occurred past year - the most since comparable records began in 1993.

Behind each figure in these latest statistics was a real person, a person who once had hopes and dreams - as did my two sons who were killed by illegal heroin - but they are treated as collateral damage in the government's drug policies.

"However, despite deaths from most opiates declining or remaining steady, deaths from fentanyl continued to rise, as did cocaine deaths, which increased for the sixth consecutive year". The north-east had the highest rate of drugs deaths, with 83.2 deaths per 1 million people.

"In Portugal - where drug use is decriminalised - the drug death rate is less than a tenth of ours".

Carfentanyl, often used as an elephant tranquilliser because of its strength, was mentioned in death certificates in 2017 for the first time.

Past year heroin and morphine related deaths decreased for the first time since 2012, while cocaine deaths rose.

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Fatalities from "legal-highs" also decreased, from 123 in 2016, to 61 in 2017, following the government ban on psychoactive substances.

Charities have said that most deaths from substance abuse are avoidable and warned that drug abusers need better care to help deal with underlying health conditions.

Niamh Eastwood, executive director of Release - the UK's centre of expertise on drugs and drug laws - blamed the government for "driving this devastating public health crisis by punishing people for their drug use instead of implementing compassionate, evidence-based policies". 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.

Ms Tyrell added: 'Nobody wakes up in the morning and decides to become dependent on drugs.

Deaths related to morphine or heroin have risen by 30% while those involving cocaine have soared by 200%.

Drug deaths also hit a record high in Scotland last 2017 and were the worst in Europe.

"While America is in the grips of a massive opioid epidemic, it's unlikely this will happen to the same extent in the United Kingdom as we have much stricter prescribing controls here".

No one has ever died from an overdose in a supervised drug consumption room or heroin prescribing clinic, anywhere. The conventional ways of reversing overdose work - such as using naloxone - but people have to be specially trained to give naloxone because a high dose is required for it to work.

'But treatment budgets have been savagely cut since 2010, and we are now seeing the horrific impact of these cuts on the record number of people dying'.

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