Cocaine abuse deaths reach highest level ever in England and Wales

Sarah Spickernell
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Cocaine deaths surged last year (Source: Getty)
The number of people who died from cocaine abuse peaked in England and Wales last year, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Over the course of 2014, there were 247 cocaine-related deaths in total – the highest number since records began over 20 years ago in 1993. During the previous year there had been 169.

There was also a big surge in the number of deaths resulting from heroin and morphine abuse, which increased by almost two-thirds between 2012 and 2014, going up from 579 to 952. The report said this was “likely to be related to the availability of heroin/morphine”.

But this upward trend was not limited to cocaine, heroin and morphine, with the number of deaths from abuse of all kinds of drugs hitting the unprecedented level of 40 in every one million members of the population.

The area in England which had the most drug deaths was the North East, for the second year in a row. Here, the death rate reached 69 per million in 2014. Men were 2.5 times more likely than women to die from drug misuse.
Greater availability of drugs, lower prices and a tendency to create lethal combinations have all contributed to the rise, according to the research.

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