The number drug-related deaths in the UK is rising rapidly. According to a recent analysis, the UK spends over 10.7 billion Euros annually on managing the drug situation, with 8% going to health-related services, 10% to enforcement, 54% is linked to drug-related crimes and 28% linked to deaths from eight illicit types of drug including cannabis, crack, ecstasy, amphetamines and cocaine. The same analysis also shows that drug-related problems are not limited to men only, even though men are more likely to use illegal drugs than women.
The increasing rate of drug misuse, abuse and dependency can be linked to several factors including a history of family drug use and addiction, unemployment, poor standard of living, poor mental health and a host of socio-economic issues.
Drug-related deaths in UK by region
In 2015, the number of drug-related deaths in UK was placed at 4380, with Scotland accounting for 706 and Scotland/Wales accounting for 3,674 combined – these are the highest recorded figures for these regions within the observed period, with males between the ages of 35 – 44 accounting for 69% of the total figure.
In England, the percentage of drug-related deaths for every 1 million individuals in the population is broken down as follows: Yorkshire and the Humber (52.5), North-East (77.4), North-West (61.9), East Midlands (29.1), West Midlands (43.8), Eastern (38.2), London (32.2), South West (51.6) and South East (39.7).
Increase in the number of deaths
Since 2012, the number of drug-related deaths, especially involving heroin and morphine, has doubled. This increase is due in part to the increase in the availability of the substances in recent years.
Age also plays a vital role in the number of drug-related deaths. This is because heroin users often suffer from a variety of health issues such as lung disease and hepatitis; as they get older, they become vulnerable.
Countless numbers of people have died since then, as a result of drug misuse including abuse and misuse of opiates, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, cocaine and even prescription drugs such as anti-depressants. A number of these deaths are also linked to alcohol.
A national health menace
Drug misuse is one of the most common causes of deaths in England and is becoming an increasing source of worry in the health community and for the government. It has been commonly associated to the untimely deaths of people between the ages of 15 and 40. In fact, in 2016, the number of deaths linked to drug misuse was put at 2.383 with the male population making up 73% of this number. This was a 3.6% increase from the previous year and was also the year with the highest number on record.
The increasing rate of drug-related issues in the UK is now considered a national health menace and it is the responsibility of all of society to find a lasting solution.