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    Purer Heroin and Ageing Addicts Lead to Increase in UK Drug Deaths

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    The number of drug-related deaths in Britain is at its highest level since records began, following a rise in the purity of heroin available on UK streets as well as ageing addicts.

    The new figures issued by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal a sharp rise in the number of men dying as a result of heroin or morphine poisoning, proportionately contributing to the overall death rate in Britain.

    ​Just over two-thirds of drug-related deaths were men with 2,547 dying compared with 1,127 women who passed away due to drug poisoning.

    "Deaths involving heroin and morphine have more than doubled since 2012 partly driven by a rise in heroin purity and availability of the last three years," Vanessa Fearn, research analyst at the ONS.

    ​The biggest rise in the number of people dying from heroin or morphine poisoning occurred in addicts aged between 50 and 59.

    "Age is also a factor in the record levels of drug deaths," Fearn added.

    "As heroin users are getting older and they often have other conditions, such as lung disease and hepatitis, that make them particularly vulnerable."

    There were also 320 deaths involving the class A substance, cocaine, that's 73 more than in 2014 when 247 people died. Once again, like heroin, the majority of cocaine-related deaths are men aged between 30 and 49. 

    According to the Home Office Crime Survey for England and Wales 2016, cocaine is the second most popular drug after cannabis, with cocaine becoming increasingly purer which could account for the increase in deaths.

    "Since cocaine is often taken alongside heroin, it is likely that changes in purity and availability of heroin, as well as increases in the purity of cocaine, are contributing to the rise in deaths involving cocaine in recent years," according to the ONS.

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    Tags:
    opioid addiction, crack addict, drug addiction, Morphine, drug dealing, heroin, cocaine, men, cannabis, society, death, women, drugs, Great Britain, United Kingdom
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