Drug-related deaths reach record high

Heroin and morphine use drive rising mortality rate from drug poisoning in England and Wales, Office for National Statistics reports
Drug-related deaths

Drug-related deaths have reached their highest levels since records began, with 3,674 mortalities in England and Wales last year.

Deaths involving heroin and morphine have more than doubled since 2012. Photo: iStockphoto

The mortality rate from drug poisoning in 2015 was the highest since 1993, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

People aged 30-49 had a significantly higher rate of drug misuse deaths than any other group, a rising trend since 2012.

Heroin use

The ONS said the increase in 2015 for people in this age group was largely due to a rise in deaths involving heroin and/or morphine and cocaine.

ONS researcher Vanessa Fearn said: ‘Deaths involving heroin and morphine have more than doubled since 2012, partly driven by a rise in heroin purity and availability over the past 3 years.’

She said age was also a factor, with heroin users getting older and having other conditions such as lung disease and hepatitis.

Further information

Drug-related deaths in England and Wales: 2015