The number of deaths in England and Wales from illegal drugs jumped by 17 percent last year, according to the Office of National Statistics.
There were 2,917 deaths from illicit drugs in 2018 and the ONS said it was the biggest annual increase since 1993, when they began collating figures.
In total 4,359 people died from drug poisoning last year, but that figure included accidental overdoses and suicides from prescribed drugs.
There were 16% more deaths related to drug poisoning in England and Wales in 2018 compared to 2017. The number of deaths rose to 4,359, a rate of 76.3 per million population. This is the highest rate since records began in 1993. Read today's report here - https://t.co/Ghb1KpLa93 pic.twitter.com/wQzTGToUx0— Nick Stripe (@NickStripe_ONS) August 15, 2019
Deaths from spice and other previously "legal highs" doubled to 125, while deaths from Ecstasy (MDMA) leapt from 56 to 92, their highest ever level.
Heroin counted for the greatest number of deaths but but cocaine deaths had also doubled in three years.
The ONS also said there was a notable increase in drug deaths among men in their 40s.
London had the lowest number of deaths, per head of population, while the North East of England had the highest and was three times higher than in the capital.
Understandably lots of focus on overall drug death stats. Figures for ecstasy are startling on their own. Up 61 percent on year before and highest since records began. Pill strength arms race? pic.twitter.com/waNtptPkZ2— Jim Connolly (@gyme7) August 15, 2019
The rate of drug misuse has more than doubled in the North East over a decade - from 46.3 deaths per million in 2008 to 96.3 in 2018.
Last month two drug addicts were jailed for life at Newcastle Crown Court for killing a man who had allegedly stolen their drugs.
Gavin Moon was stabbed to death at a flat in nearby Washington by Brian Goldsmith and Luc Barker.
As Mr Moon lay dying the pair went through his pockets and took money, drugs and some lottery scratch cards.