Cocaine deaths reach all-time high in England and Wales

07 Août, 2018, 11:04 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • A post-mortem examination found Prince dies of a fentanyl overdose

Deaths caused by the drug fentanyl rose by almost 30% a year ago, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

There were 75 deaths linked with fentanyl in England and Wales in 2017, up by almost a third from the 2016 statistic of 58.

There were 75 fatalities linked to fentanyl in England and Wales a year ago, an increase of 29 per cent from 2016, when there were 58.

"Fentanyl is a very unsafe drug and a very potent cause of overdoses".

Carfentanyl, often used as an elephant tranquilliser because of its strength, was mentioned in death certificates in 2017 for the first time. The drug, a unit of which can be up to 10,000 stronger than morphine, accounted for 27 deaths 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.

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

The ongoing criminalisation of people for personal drug use and possession, Eastwood says, is "dissuading people who want help from seeking it [which in turn] is fuelling drug-related deaths".

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Deaths from psychoactive substances like spice or mephedrone halved. In 2016, the government introduced a blanket ban on the importation, production or supply of most NPS.

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 recent ONS stats revealed that deaths from the misuse of drugs were highest in the north; with north-east England having 83.2 deaths per 1 million people, compared to London 24.6 per 1 million people. The north-west had a rate of 64.7 deaths and Yorkshire and the Humber 54.5.

Niamh Eastwood, executive director of Release - the UK's centre of expertise on drugs and drug laws - blamed the government for "driving this devastating public health crisis by punishing people for their drug use instead of implementing compassionate, evidence-based policies".

The ONS said this figure had "remained stable", with only 12 more deaths than the year previous.

"However, despite deaths from most opiates declining or remaining steady, deaths from fentanyl continued to rise in 2017 as did cocaine deaths which increased for the sixth consecutive year". "It's such needless waste of life and a tragedy for so many families and loved ones".

'Most of them have had very hard, often traumatic lives and we're letting them down if we don't give them the best care that we can'. The truth is that most drug related deaths are preventable. Majority have had very hard, often traumatic lives and we're letting them down if we don't give them the best care that we can.

Ms Tyrell added: 'Nobody wakes up in the morning and decides to become dependent on drugs.

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