Sputnik: Sir Angus Deaton, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, has warned of a rise of "deaths of despair" in Britain. How does this warning compare to the lives of many living in 21st century Britain?
Ian Hamilton: In some ways, it's not shocking unfortunately. For people involved, particularly in drug and alcohol research and mental health, this is something we've observed over the last decade. If we look at Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Ireland; we've seen a really significant increase in the number of people dying due to drug use. Year on year, we just keep seeing that number going up and it fits exactly with Angus Deaton talks about. These are people in their 40s predominantly and they're dying at an age that we would have expected really in Victorian times — so that's going back 100 years. Life expectancy under Queen Victoria was in the 40s, early 50s; and here we are in 2019 seeing a whole cohort and group of people dying at such a young age.
Ian Hamilton: Well, it looks bleak because we're going to see yet more people setting records in terms of the numbers that are dying this year. We've got data coming out over the summer, which unfortunately I think is going to show that yet again a new record has been set for the numbers of dying due to drugs, and overdoses and other problems like that. I think politicians are fully aware of what we can do to try and correct it. It's not complicated, it's not something we do an advantage to; we know how to end this record number of people dying from these type of problems.
Sputnik: It seems there is a problem, in every town and city across the UK – what do actions and I think commitments do we need to be seeing from local authorities and the government to reduce this worrying trend?
Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.