Record number of drug-related deaths in the UK in 2020
Steph Deschamps / August 3, 2021
England, Wales and Scotland - the latter nation being the worst pupil in Europe in the matter -, recorded last year records of fatal overdoses, according to official statistics which blame cocaine and opiates.
In 2020, 4,561 fatal overdoses were recorded in England and Wales, a rate of 76.7 per million people, a 3.8% jump from 2019 and the highest since records began in 1993, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said Tuesday.
Nearly half of these overdoses involved an opiate, while deaths from cocaine use jumped 9.7%.
This overall trend is primarily due to opioid-related deaths, but also to an increase in deaths related to other substances such as cocaine, the ONS explained.
The rate of deaths related to drug abuse shows a marked divide between the north and south of England. The North East, a disadvantaged region, shows the highest increase, while London shows the lowest rates.
Asked by AFP, the ONS said it was too early to assess the effect of last year's repeated confinements in the UK on this trend.
Scotland, which has the highest rate of overdose deaths in Europe, announced last week that more than 1,300 people died in 2020 after using drugs.
This figure has been rising for the past seven years despite the increased efforts of the Scottish authorities to address this dramatic situation.
The Scottish heroin crisis burst onto the international scene in 1996 with Danny Boyle's film Trainspotting, which was set in Edinburgh. More than twenty years later, the deaths by overdose affect this Trainspotting generation which began to consume heroin in the years 1980-1990.