Drug related deaths

Drug related deaths

The BBC news report that at least 60 people have died in the UK in the last eight months after taking the strong painkiller fentanyl, is shocking [link].   But, even more shocking is a subsequent BBC report, based on ONS statistics, which reveals that deaths involving cocaine rose by 16% to 371, while overall there were 3,744 deaths from legal and illegal drugs [link].   The purity of cocaine distributed at street level can be high, and there is a wealth of evidence that super-potent ‘Ecstasy’ is in circulation.  The reason why fentanyl is a problem, and what needs to be done, is eloquently expressed in a recent blog post on the DrugScience website [link].   It is not just fentanyl that is a problem.  The case for at least piloting a Drug Consumption Room somewhere in the UK is overwhelming.   Such rooms  (not to be confused with so-called “shooting galleries”) exist in many countries.  Unfortunately, the UK Government has recently stated that it has “no plans to introduce drug consumption rooms” but it asserts that is “….committed to taking action to prevent the harms caused by drug use and our approach remains clear: we must prevent drug use in our communities, help dependent individuals recover, while ensuring our drugs laws are enforced” (Government Response to the ACMD, Annex B, para.7, 12th July 2017. [Link], and see [Link].  It is plain from the statistics that more needs to be done.

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