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 recently revealed.
And unfortunately, the ONS has also revealed that the same can be said for drug deaths across Wales.
Analysis of ONS data by addiction treatment experts UKAT shows that Wales has seen a concerning 40% rise in drug poisoning deaths in the last 5 years.
The ONS report reveals that between 2016-18, drug poisoning deaths across Wales reached a record high of 858, up from 769 between 2015-17 and up from just 614 in 2013-15.
The percentage of men dying from drugs has risen by 34% since 2013 (from 438 to 585), and by 55% for women (from 176 to 273).
The areas across Wales with the largest rises in drug poisoning deaths in the last 5 years include Gwynedd, where deaths have risen from just 1 to now 13, a 1200% increase. In Denbighshire, drug poisoning deaths have more than doubled from 5 to 11 over 5 years, and in Flintshire, deaths have tripled from 5 to 15.
Drug poisoning deaths have rocketed in Swansea; from 15 just 5 years ago to 35 in 2016-18, a 133% rise. Neath Port Talbot’s death toll has risen from 8 to 22, an increase of 175% and in Bridgend, from 4 to 20; a 400% rise.
Caerphilly has had a 50% rise in drug deaths, from 8 to 12 in just 5 years, and in Torfaen, an 800% rise; from just 1 to now 9 drug deaths.
Drug addiction experts at UKAT- who analysed the recent ONS figures- urge councils across Wales to invest in drug and alcohol treatment services to avoid more loss of life;
Eytan Alexander, Managing Director of UKAT (www.ukat.co.uk ), comments;
“These ONS figures are saddening but unsurprising. We urge councils across Wales to invest in effective drug and alcohol services next year to avoid more loss of life. We must remember that these aren’t just numbers; they’re someone’s mother, father, child or friend and we can’t stress enough the value of investing in addiction treatment.”