Drug deaths rose sharply in England and Wales to reach record numbers last year, BBC News reports official figures show. There were 2,917 deaths from illicit drugs in 2018, the Office of National Statistics said, a rise of 17%. Most deaths were due to opiates such as heroin, but cocaine deaths doubled in three years.
The report says a government adviser blamed cuts to treatment programmes, while health officials said they were commissioning an independent review. A total of 4,359 people died due to drug poisoning last year, the ONS said – a figure which includes accidental overdoses and suicides from medicinal drugs, as well as illicit drug use. It was also the biggest annual increase in drug deaths since records began in 1993, the statisticians said.
Professor Alex Stevens from the University of Kent, who serves on the government's advisory council on the misuse of drugs, said in the report that there had been a 47% increase in deaths from drug poisoning since 2013.
[link url="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-49357077"]BBC News report[/link]