Drug related deaths statistics – A painful reminder of the need for change

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14 October 2020

Drug related deaths in England and Wales – A painful reminder of the need for change

The release today of the 2019 Office for National Statistics figures on drug related deaths is a poignant and painful reminder of the need for the reversal of cuts to drug and alcohol treatment.

The 2019 figures remain similar to 2018 and represent record high levels of lives lost due to drug use.

We know that drug related deaths are avoidable and treatment saves lives.

New analysis by deprivation shows that, in the last decade, rates of drug poisoning deaths have been higher in the most deprived areas of England and Wales compared with the least.

Targeted investment in all forms of treatment could create fair and equal access to treatment across England and Wales. This would not only benefit families and communities affected by deprivation across England and Wales but wider society as a whole.

Phoenix believes passionately that the principle that everyone should be able to access good quality healthcare regardless of wealth should be extended to people with mental health and addiction problems. In England and Wales today if you are in need of mental health and addiciton treatment where your live dictates the quality and accessibility of services and so your quality, and longevity, of life. 

The stigma of addiction leads of discrimination, exclusion from healthcare and the tragic loss of life. It is evidently wrong that the people with the most complex needs, and fewest resources, should have to fight the hardest, overcome the greatest barriers, and contribute the most financially, to access healthcare.

Change is long overdue and will sadly be too late for those people who have lost their lives, and their loved ones who have lost their mothers, daughters, fathers and sons. But making change now will avoid tragedy for many families in the future.    

Phoenix Futures is a registered charity in England and Wales (No 284880) and in Scotland (No SCO39008); Company Limited by Guarantee Number 1626869; Registered Provider of Social Housing with Homes England (H3795).