The number of people dying from drug misuse has more than doubled in the last 20 years, statistics have revealed.

Official figures from the Office for National Statistics show that there are more drug deaths in the UK now than ever before. And the problem is more severe in some towns and cities than others.

The seaside resort of Blackpool had the highest rate of drug deaths between 2013 and 2015. The town in the North West saw 76 of its residents die as a result of drug misuse – the equivalent of 19 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants each year.

Another popular coastal holiday destination, Weymouth and Portland had the second highest death toll with 10.8 drugs deaths per 100,000 residents.

In total, 3,674 people died from a drug overdose in the UK during 2015. And of those deaths, 2,479 involved only substances which are illegal.

There has been a surge of opiate-related deaths with 1,201 people dying after taking heroin or morphine. This is the highest number of fatalities of this type ever recorded and is double the figure for 2012.

Rise in cocaine and heroin fatalities

The number of deaths related to cocaine have also reached their highest ever level with 320 fatalities in 2015, compared to 247 the previous year.

The report from the Office for National Statistics said: “Since cocaine is often taken alongside heroin, it is likely that changes in the purity and availability of heroin, as well as increases in the purity of cocaine, are contributing to the rise in deaths involving cocaine.”

Men are more likely to die as a result of drugs than women. The statistics revealed that there were 65.5 drug-related deaths for every million men in the UK – nearly three times the figure for women which is 22.4 per million.

The report also revealed that it isn’t young people who are most likely to die from abusing drugs. Instead, the age group most at risk are the thirty-somethings with 98.4 deaths per million followed by the forty-somethings with 95.1 deaths per million.

Drug testing can be used to help identify when someone has a substance misuse problem so they can be help and support which could potentially save their life. Family members and friends who suspect someone they love is abusing drugs can order a test online so they can get the answers they need.

AlphaBiolabs offers a range of drug testing services, including legal tests which can be used as evidence in court proceedings and for official matters. It also offers workplace testing for organisations which want to ensure their staff are not abusing drugs.