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

This is the highest number since comparable records started in 1993, but similar to 2016 when there were 3,744 deaths related to drug poisoning.

According to a report published on August 6 by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there were 3,756 drug-related deaths registered in England and Wales in 2017.

But figures for the whole of England and Wales show that heroine and morphine were the most common drugs in drug-related 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.

In April 2017, after a spate of deaths linked to fentanyl in northern England, Public Health England issued a warning to heroin users to be extra careful when using the drug, urging them to test a small amount first and not to take it alone.

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.

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.

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

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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.

David Jamieson, the West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner, said these figures on drug-related deaths are "tragic". The north-east had the highest rate of drugs deaths, with 83.2 deaths per 1 million people.

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

"In recent years we have seen a 30% cut in the budget for addiction services". They are responsible for vulnerable people dying in droves'.

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

Karen Tyrell, executive director of alcohol and drug charity Addaction, said: 'The truth is that most drug-related deaths are preventable.

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

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