New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that last year in England and Wales, more people died due to drug poisoning than any other period of time since the records started. The average age of the majority of the deceased was between 30 and 49 years old, and males accounted for roughly 66 percent of all deaths.
Highest recorded drug deaths
Opiate related deaths rose to the highest figures ever. Out of the 4,359 drug-associated deaths in England and Wales in 2018, over 50 percent of them were linked to opiates. Deaths caused by cocaine, new psychoactive substances, and ecstasy have also risen significantly according to the ONS.
More than 60 percent of the deaths were a result of drug misuse, which is distinctly separated by the north and south regions in England, as the north-east had a substantially higher rate of these types of deaths than any other area. London saw the lowest rate with 34.9 deaths for every million people in comparison with the 96.3 deaths per million that took place in the north-east. Deaths connected to drug use in Scotland got to a record-breaking number of 1,187.
These drug-related deaths in England and Wales have increased by 16 percent since the 2017 figures, the greatest yearly increase since the start of the records in 1993.
“This equates to a statistically significant increase in the drug-poisoning rate, with 76.3 deaths per million people in 2018, compared with 66.1 deaths per million in 2017,” said ONS deputy director for health analysis and life events, Ben Humberstone.
The majority of drug-poisoning deaths were fundamentally a result of accidental poisoning, which was responsible for 80 percent of male deaths and 67 percent of female deaths.
For the most part, poisoning linked to drugs in England and Wales has been growing noticeably since 2012. In the past few years, greater than normal drug-associated death rates have also been noted throughout Northern Europe.