North East has highest rate of UK drug-related deaths

North East has highest rate of UK drug-related deaths

  • January 2019
  • Posted By James Lawson

The latest figures show that the North East had the highest rate of drug-related deaths in the UK, prompting civic leaders in Newcastle to warn that the city needed to act to address the problem of drug abuse in their city. Between 2015 and 2017, 92 Newcastle residents died due to drug overdoses. It translates to 11.4 drug-related deaths per 100,000 residents in Newcastle, which is almost twice the national average of 6.4 and above the 10.7 average in the North East, which had the highest rate of deaths from drug overdoses in the country.

Responding to the findings, Newcastle City Council leaders said they are: “doing everything we can” to stop the inflow of illegal drugs to the city. They have also promised to provide more access for city residents to naloxone, which serves as an antidote to a drug overdose if administered soon after it occurs.

Public health officials attribute the increase in drug-related deaths in the UK since 2013 to class A drugs being more readily available and to the drugs having a higher level of purity. The number of deaths due to drug overdoses in Newcastle reached a record high of 102 between 2014 and 2016, an increase of more than 30 over the numbers recorded a decade earlier.

In the other locations in the North East, from 2015 to 2017, there were 140 drug-related deaths in County Durham, 80 in Sunderland, 77 in Northumberland, 71 in North Tyneside, 64 in Gateshead, and 39 in South Tyneside.


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