Drug related deaths continue to rise (Aug 2018)

Drug related deaths have risen for the sixth year in a row. Office for National Statistics (ONS) data released yesterday show that there were 3,756 drug-related deaths registered in England and Wales in 2017, the highest since records began. Heroin and/or morphine deaths were involved in 1,985 of the deaths that took place. Deaths related to fentanyl, a powerful opioid, have reached 75, the highest figure on record.

SMMGP Interim Chief Executive Kate Halliday said:

This news is devastating especially as many of these deaths are preventable. A joined up public health approach is needed to reverse this tragedy which should include increasing the provision of naloxone, provision of drug consumption rooms, and easy access to evidence-based treatment.

Collective Voice and the NHS Substance Misuse Provider Alliance have produced excellent guidance on improving aspects of clinical practice. It is difficult to see how these initiatives can be fully realised without full government support including addressing the ongoing cuts to services.