ONS: Drug-related deaths in 2020 are highest since records began



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Carpet-related deaths in England and Wales have risen for the eighth consecutive year and remain at their highest level in more than a quarter of a century, according to the figures.

This is the highest figure since surveys began in 1993, and 3.8% from the previous year.

Due to delays in registering deaths, about half of the deaths will have occurred in the previous year and the majority before the coronavirus pandemic, the ONS said.

Figures show that drug-related death rates have increased 60.9% over the past 10 years, from 49.4 deaths per million in 2010 to 79.5 deaths per million in 2020.

Of the deaths recorded last year, two-thirds (2,996) were related to drug abuse, and about half (2,263) involved an opioid.

Some 777 deaths involved cocaine – a 9.7% increase from 2019 and more than five times the 144 cocaine-related deaths recorded in 2010.

The figures also show a higher death rate in men than in women. Among men, there were 109.7 registered drug poisoning deaths per million in 2020 (3,108 registered deaths), compared to 49.8 deaths per million among women (1,453 deaths).

The North East had the highest rate of drug abuse-related deaths with 104.6 deaths per million people, while London had the lowest rate with 33.1 deaths per million people.

Separate figures released last week showed 1,339 people died of drugs in Scotland last year.

It comes a week after police warned of the dangers of using illegal substances as one man has died and two others are hospitalized after falling ill at a north London nightclub.

Metropolitan Police said officers were called to The Cause in Ashley Road, Tottenham shortly after 3 a.m. on Saturday after a number of people felt ill.

Police said a 21-year-old man was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Two other men were also taken to hospital where they are in stable condition.

Superintendent Simon Crick, in charge of policing for Enfield and Haringey, said: “There is no safe way to take illegal drugs, but the overnight incidents have been of particular concern to us.

“We urge everyone who has bought drugs in or around the nightclub to get rid of these substances as soon as possible.

“An investigation is continuing to determine where these drugs come from and I encourage anyone with information to contact the police.

“If someone has consumed an illegal substance and becomes ill, they should seek medical attention immediately.”

The UK continues to have the worst drug-related death rate in Europe.

Additional reporting by the Press Association news agency.

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