Fentanyl and cocaine-related deaths on the rise

More people are using Class A drugs including cocaine

More people are using Class A drugs including cocaine

The number of fentanyl deaths increased from 58 in 2016 to 75 in 2017.

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.

Some 3,756 fatalities involving legal and illegal substances occurred a year ago - the most since records began in 1993, in the wake of the acid house scene. The north-east had the highest rate of drugs deaths, with 83.2 deaths per 1 million people.

"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".

In Scotland, drug deaths hit a record high in 2017 and were the worst in Europe, figures revealed last month.

There has also been a slow rise in cocaine deaths for the sixth consecutive year, up to 432 in 2017, compared to 371 in 2016.

Fatalities from "legal-highs" also decreased, from 123 in 2016, to 61 in 2017, following the government ban on psychoactive substances. London had the lowest rate of deaths of any region, with 24.6 per 1 million people in 2017.

Despite the high rate of drug-related deaths, the United Kingdom government seems set to continue its approach; pursuing a goal of society-wide abstinence from drug use, rather than the provision of harm reduction measures that reduce drug deaths.

"The big concern for us in relation to recreational drug users is the five-fold increase in ecstasy deaths and the three-fold increase in cocaine related deaths", she said, adding that these were being caused by higher purity or contaminated substances being sold.

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Ellie Osborn, a health analysis statistician at the ONS, said: "The figures published today show that the level of drug poisoning deaths in 2017 remained stable". The truth is that most drug related deaths are preventable.

Most were from drug misuse, which accounted for 67 per cent of the total number of drug poisoning deaths.

'Unfortunately, these people are dying in their forties and fifties, decades before the average person.

Martin Powell, from Transform Drug Policy Foundation, accused politicians of not funding measures proven to save lives across the world.

"Being in treatment protects against deaths".

He told the BBC: 'The UK government has nowhere left to hide.

Karen Tyrell, executive director at the drugs charity Addaction, described the statistics as devastating. They also provide a plethora of benefits for people who don't use drugs in the local community, TalkingDrugs has reported, including a reduced strain on emergency services and safer streets. We have so much more to do.

"Nobody wakes up in the morning and decides to become dependent on drugs".

'Everyone deserves help, and we know every person can recover with the right support'.

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