For the second year running, the North East of England has the highest rate of drug deaths in the country. Experts warn that drug deaths are reaching epidemic levels in the region. In total, 349 people died because of the misuse of drugs across Tyne and Wear and County Durham from 2015–2017.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) say that the rate of drug misuse in the North East was ‘statistically significantly higher than each of the other regions of England’ at 83 per million people. All northern regions had the highest rates of drug misuse and drug-related deaths, with the North West and Yorkshire following the North East in the official figures. London had the lowest number of deaths.

Sunderland had the highest rate of drugs-related deaths for 2015–2017 at 18.1 per 100,000 people. Tyne and Wear drug-related deaths for the same period was 15.9: almost double the England average of 8.8 per 100,000 people.

Of more concern is that the figures have been rising year-on-year from 205 drug-related deaths in Tyne and Wear from 2010–2012 to 349 from 2015–2017. Both Gateshead and Newcastle City Councils have also seen huge spikes in drug-related deaths in recent months, which won’t be included in the official statistics.

Jane Slater from the Transform Drug Policy Foundation said there has long been a link between deprived areas and drug deaths. “Poverty and drug use are very much connected”, she said. Adding that, “A lack of access to treatment is a big reason for the increases that we’re seeing”.

Drug testing in Newcastle

A wide range of drug testing services is available at AlphaBiolabs’ Walk in Centre in Jesmond* with results as quickly as the same day. These include urine drug testing, oral fluid drug tests, nail drug testing and hair strand drug testing. Home drug test kits can also be purchased for instant results.

The Walk in Centre is staffed by highly experienced sample collectors who understand the importance of confidentiality, accuracy and sample integrity. Members of the public, the legal profession and local businesses can all gain advice on preferred drug testing options from our experienced Customer Services team.

For information on Drug Testing in Newcastle upon Tyne, please contact AlphaBiolabs on 0333 600 1300 or email

*The Osborne Clinic is located at 22 Osborne Avenue, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 1JQ and is open every Wednesday from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. For appointments outside these times, please contact our Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300.