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Drug deaths soar in Yorkshire: Treatment service blames government cuts

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Photo by Steve pb - Pixabay (Wikimedia Commons)

Drug deaths have reached an all-time high in England and Wales, according to new figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

In Yorkshire, deaths by drug poisoning have risen by 25% in the last five years.

Eytan Alexander, Managing Director of UK Addiction Treatment Centres, described the increase as "saddening but unsurprising".

"We've highlighted the drastic reduction in budget cuts to substance misuse services every year since 2013 and unfortunately, these figures now show the impact this is having on the most vulnerable people living across Yorkshire."

In South Yorkshire, 320 people died of drug poisoning between 2016 and 2018.

We urge councils across Yorkshire and the Humber to invest in effective drug and alcohol services next year to avoid more loss of life

This compares with 311 people from 2015-17, 298 people from 2014-16, and 291 people from 2013-15.

Councils across Yorkshire and the Humber have cut budgets for drug and alcohol treatment services by £8 million since 2013. This represents combined cuts of 15%.

"It cannot be coincidence that as councils here have slashed drug and alcohol treatment budgets by £8 million over the past 6 years, the highest number of people on record now lose their lives to drugs," said Alexander.

"We urge councils across Yorkshire and the Humber to invest in effective drug and alcohol services next year to avoid more loss of life."

Sam Gregory

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