ONS releases 2020 figures on deaths from drug poisonings

This is complicated data – showing deaths that were registered during a year and not when they happened but it does gives us year on year trends – and shows 3.8% more deaths were registered in 2020 in England and Wales than were in 2019 and sadly reporting the highest number of deaths – 4,561 people, since records began in 1993.

Deaths where cocaine featured rose by 9.7% between 2019 and 2020  and an increased proportion of deaths involved a benzodiazepines or the gabapentins – likely reflecting a real increase in web and street supplies which we have seen continue into 2021.

Two thirds of deaths reported in 2020 were due to drug misuse; with the highest numbers in our North East towns and a stark North/South divide.

In Bristol the ONS data shows a fall in deaths due to drug misuse – from 41 registered in 2019 to 38 in 2020 but when you look at other data in the report (age standardised mortality per 100,000 population) Bristol has a rate of 8.9 deaths compared with the England rate of 5 per 100,000. Here at BDP we are committed to widespread provision of Naloxone – with over 1,000 doses  given out in 2020/21 – and with funding from the new ADDER programme will soon start providing the nasal form of Naloxone which is more likely to be carried.

Every death is one too many and the impact for those left behind hurts forever. Here at BDP we run a monthly support group for people who have lost a loved one to drugs or alcohol which has people from across and way beyond our region getting support: For more information about this telephone  0117 987 6000

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