Drug-related deaths rising in Taunton Deane, figures reveal

Maricruz Casares
Agosto 7, 2018

The number of people dying in England and Wales due to the synthetic opioid fentanyl rose by 29% in 2017, Office for National Statistics data shows.

The figures follow police warnings that low prices are fueling a boom in cocaine sales, with an estimated 875,000 people using the drug in England and Wales last year, a 15 per cent year-on-year hike.

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

Fentanyl has been found mixed with street heroin, causing accidental overdose in users.

Harry Shapiro, director of DrugWise, said the fentanyl creeping into United Kingdom drug supplies was at least 100 times stronger than other class A drugs.

One type of fentanyl, carfentanyl, is 10,000 times stronger and is used as an elephant tranquilliser.

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

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

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Meanwhile there were 432 deaths related to cocaine in 2017 - the highest amount ever recorded.

And fatalities from so-called "legal highs", such as spice, reduced by more than a half in 2017, from 123 in 2016 to 61. In 2016, the government introduced a blanket ban on the importation, production or supply of most NPS.

In a press release, Eastwood also noted that the government has consistently opposed the introduction of drug consumption rooms (DCRs) - medical facilities which provide sterile drug use equipment in safes space overseen by health professionals.

Last year, there were 2,521 male drug-related deaths and 1,235 female. The north-west had a rate of 64.7 deaths and Yorkshire and the Humber 54.5.

'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'.

Karen Tyrell, executive director of alcohol and drug charity Addaction, said: "The truth is that most drug-related deaths are preventable". We have so much more to do.

Internationally, there are many instances of successful drug policy reform reducing drug deaths that the United Kingdom government could learn from.

"People who use opioids often have cumulative physical and mental health problems".

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