Drug deaths in South Norfolk at a record high
Drug-related deaths in South Norfolk have reached a record high over the last three years, figures reveal.
The Transform Drug Policy Foundation has called deaths from illegal drug use an avoidable tragedy, and accused the Government of “decimating treatment funding”.
The Office for National Statistics provides local data on deaths related to drug poisoning for three-year periods, which is updated annually.
South Norfolk saw 25 deaths between 2016 and 2018 – the most since records began in 2001-03. It means 6.4 per 100,000 people died in this way in the last three years.
The deaths relate to poisoning from a variety of illegal and legal drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
The figures count deaths from drug abuse but also include those from accidents, suicides, and health complications arising from drug use.
In south Norfolk, 15 deaths were down to misuse, meaning they involved illegal drugs, or were as a result of drug abuse or dependence.
Across England and Wales, 4,359 deaths from drug poisoning were recorded in 2018 – two-thirds of these resulted from misuse.
Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said the figures are “predictable and avoidable as they are tragic.”
“The case for a more compassionate harm reduction approach has been clear for years,” she said.
“And yet the Government has continued to lead with rhetoric around law enforcement, while presiding over sustained cuts to local authority budgets, undermining their ability to deliver effective drug treatment services,” she said.