More people are dying from abusing drugs than car crashes, new statistics have revealed.
Between 2013 and 2015, 6,648 individuals in England and Wales died as a result of drug misuse, compared to 4,683 who died in road traffic collisions, according to the Office of National Statistics. And in some areas, the difference is even more dramatic with 10 times as many drug deaths as crash fatalities.
Coastal areas seemed to have the biggest discrepancy between the two figures. In Portsmouth there was 18 deaths related to drug misuse for every death on the road.
And Blackpool, South Tyneside and Brighton and Hove all had more than 10 times as many drug deaths as fatalities from road traffic collisions.
Public Health England has said the figures highlighted a need to make sure the most vulnerable members of society are able to access help in overcoming substance misuse issues.
Rosanna O’Connor, from Public Health England, told BBC News: “Reassuringly, overall drug use has declined. There is a though a need to ensure the most vulnerable can access treatment.
“We know that the majority of those dying from opiates like heroin have never been involved with treatment services.”
Opiates are linked to most fatalities
In 2015 alone, 2,300 people died from drug misuse in England – 8.5 per cent more than the previous year. Most of the deaths involved either heroin or morphine but there was also a growing number of fatalities related to psychoactive substances and the prescription drugs pregabalin and gabapentin.
According to Public Health England, one of the reasons the number of drugs deaths is going up is because long-term heroin users are getting older and are more likely to suffer from a fatal overdose due to other health problems.
A report from the organisation referred to “an ageing cohort of heroin users, many of whom started to use heroin in the 1980s and 90s.”
Public Health England said it was vital to ensure that treatment for substance misuse was accessible to everyone.
Drug testing can play an important part in establishing whether someone is using drugs so they can be given the help and support they need.
AlphaBiolabs offers hair strand testing which looks at a person’s drug consumption over a period of months so it can establish whether substances have been abused occasionally or whether there is a long-term dependency.
If you’re concerned that someone you love may have a drug addiction, you can order peace of mind drugs tests online, which will be delivered to your home in discreet packaging. The results can then give you the answers you need to decide whether you need to seek further assistance.