20:46 GMT +305 December 2019
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    Drug addiction

    Deaths by Drugs in England and Wales Jumps by 17 Percent as Methadone Programmes Cut

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    Professor Alex Stevens from the University of Kent, who serves on the government's advisory council on the misuse of drugs, has blamed funding cuts to treatment services of, which offered safer alternatives - like methadone for heroin.

    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.

    ​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.

    ​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.

    Tags:
    United Kingdom, UK Office of National Statistics (ONS), deaths, Spice, heroin, drugs
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