Drug deaths in England and Wales have reached the highest number and highest annual increase since records began back in 1993, the Office for National Statistics has today revealed.
And unfortunately, the ONS has also revealed that the same can be said for drug deaths in the East Midlands. East Midlands has seen a 20% rise in drug poisoning deaths in the last 5 years.
Today’s ONS data reveals that between 2016-18, drug poisoning deaths across East Midlands reached a record high of 798, up from 726 between 2015-17 and up from just 662 in 2013-15.
The percentage of men dying from drugs has risen by 23% since 2013 (from 445 to 547), and by 15% for women (from 217 to 251).
In Lincolnshire, drug deaths have risen by 26%, from 107 to 135 over 5 years.
Across Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, drug deaths have risen by 76%, 23%, 24% and 7% respectively in the last 5 years.
Drug addiction experts at UKAT blame drastic and unnecessary cuts to drug and alcohol treatment services across the East Midlands for the rise in deaths.
Eytan Alexander, Managing Director of UKAT (www.ukat.co.uk ), comments; “Today’s ONS figures are saddening but unsurprising.
“We’ve highlighted the drastic reduction in budget cuts to substance misuse services every year since 2013 and unfortunately, these figures now show the impact this is having on the most vulnerable people living across the East Midlands.
“It cannot be coincidence that as councils here slash drug and alcohol treatment budgets by £3 million over 6 years, the highest number of people on record lose their lives to drugs.
“We urge councils across the East Midlands to invest in effective drug and alcohol services next year to avoid more loss of life.”
UKAT’s Freedom of Information Request revealed that of the councils which responded across the East Midlands, budgets for drug and alcohol treatment services have been slashed to the tune of £3 million since 2013.
The data provided by addiction treatment firm UKAT shows that of the councils in East Midlands which replied to their FOI, £29.2 million was being spent on helping those struggling with addiction in the community back in 2013.
This number has dropped to just £26.5 million this financial year, almost a 10% wipe-out of funds to substance misuse services which help those most vulnerable. UKAT suggests that if all councils across the East Midlands responsible for the allocation of Public Health Grants had responded to their Freedom of Information Request, the budget cuts figure would be even worse.