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Increase in drug deaths

27th August 2009

Drug-related deaths in England and Wales showed an increase in 2008.

Latest figures, from the Office for National Statistics, showed that deaths among women because of drugs was up 17% to 853, while male deaths went up by 8% in 2007 to 2,075.

The figures are for legal and illegal drugs but do not cover the adverse effects of drugs such as allergic reactions or poisoning from non-medicinal substances.

Cocaine was reported to have led to 235 deaths, while there were 897 deaths involving heroin or morphine in 2008, with anti-depressants responsible for a further 381 deaths in 2008, up from 335 in 2007.

Most of the deaths from misuse were in men aged 30-39.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said: "These are horrifying statistics. The toll of damage from drugs is immense and the cost to the NHS is enormous.

"The government's punitive policies and heavy-handed rhetoric on drugs are failing. Ministers must make sure that schools and public services work together to make sure that the message gets out that drugs kill."

DrugScope expressed particular concern at the rise in cocaine deaths, with Britain having the highest usage in Europe.

Chief executive Martin Barnes said: "The steady rise in deaths linked with cocaine use underlines the drug's harms at a time when use of the drug is again increasing, particularly among 16 to 24-year-olds.”

A Department of Health spokesman said the government had significantly increased investment in treatment programmes and support for those who are drug dependant or at risk of self harm.

 

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Article Information

Title: Increase in drug deaths
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 12497
Date Added: 27th Aug 2009

Sources

The Times
BBC News
The Independent

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