Drug deaths in Sheffield and South Yorkshire 'highest since records began'

Drug deaths in Sheffield and South Yorkshire are currently the highest they have been since records began, new data from the Office for National Statistics shows.

Friday, 16th October 2020, 12:30 pm

Between 2017-2019, 361 people died after taking drugs in South Yorkshire, with 131 dying during the same period in Sheffield alone.

This is compared with just 311 in South Yorkshire between 2015-2017, 115 of which took place in Sheffield.

In Sheffield, Barnsley and Doncaster, the figures are the highest on record since the ONS began recording the number for individual local authorities in 2001.

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A mock-up picture of cocaine. Drug-related deaths in Sheffield are the highest they have been since records began more than a quarter of a century ago, official figures show.

And across Yorkshire and the Humber, drug deaths are up by 40 per cent in just the last six years, a situation which is mirrored nationally where they have increased by more than 50 per cent in a decade.

Nuno Albuquerque, group treatment lead for UK Addiction Treatment, described the situation in South Yorkshire as ‘concerning’.

He said: “Steady rises can be clearly seen in Barnsley and Doncaster, which is of particular concern as there is no fluctuation or improvement whatsoever, just a continuous rise in the number of local people dying because of drugs.

“The situation in Rotherham and Sheffield is more fluctuated, yet still overall, the drug death rate is higher than it should be. We'd urge councils here to financially invest in effective drug addiction treatment to prevent more unnecessary loss of life to those most vulnerable in these communities."

The number of people dying after taking drugs - both legal and illegal - is rising in Sheffield (photo: Vangelis Thomaidis).

Drug deaths included in the statistics cover both legal and illegal drugs, although local authority data for how many of each and which type of drugs is not currently available.

Nationally, however, the figures show that 40 per cent of drug deaths in 2019 were from substances which can be prescribed by a doctor including Tramadol, Codeine, Dihydrocodeine, Antidepressants, Zopiclone, Benzodiazepines, Antipsychotics and even Paracetamol.

The figures also show that the number of deaths from cocaine rose for the eighth consecutive year to their highest level - accounting for 16 per cent of all deaths across England and Wales last year.

Help, support and a free 24/7 live chat support service for drug abuse can be found at www.ukat.co.uk/drugs/v58.

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