Drug-related deaths in England and Wales have reached a record high, driven primarily by opiates, figures show.
There were 4,859 deaths related to drug poisoning registered in 2021 – a rate of 84.4 deaths per million people, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
This is the ninth consecutive annual rise, up 6.2% from the previous year, and the highest number since records began more than a quarter of a century ago in 1993.
Our latest release shows there were 4,859 deaths related to drug poisoning were registered in England and Wales in 2021
Equivalent to a rate of 84.4 deaths per million people.
6.2% higher than the rate recorded in 2020 (79.5 deaths per million people) pic.twitter.com/e0po8MMIOv
— Office for National Statistics (ONS) (@ONS) August 3, 2022
The ONS said the overall rising trend over the past decade has been driven primarily by deaths involving opiates, but also those involving other substances such as cocaine.
The figures cover drug abuse and dependence, fatal accidents, suicides and complications involving controlled and non-controlled drugs, prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Around half of these deaths registered in 2021 will have occurred in previous years due to death registration delays.
The figures show the rates of drug-related deaths have risen 81.1% since 2012, when there were 46.6 deaths per million people.