Dozens of Wiganers killed by drugs in just two years

Wigan recorded more than 50 drug-related deaths in the last two years.

Shocking figures from the Office for National Statistics figures show there were 23 drug-linked fatalities recorded in the borough in 2020 and 33 the year before.

The deaths relate to poisoning from a variety of illegal and legal drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines. The figures count deaths from drug abuse but also include those from accidents, suicides and health complications arising from drug use.

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In Wigan, 17 deaths last year were down to misuse, meaning they involved illegal drugs, or were a result of drug abuse or dependence.

More than 50 drug deaths recorded

Across England and Wales, 4,561 deaths from drug poisoning were recorded in 2020 – two-thirds of these from misuse: the highest total since comparable records began in 1993, and the eighth successive year of increase.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists called on the Government to “wake up” following years of cuts to addiction services, which it said have fuelled a record number of deaths across England and Wales.

The ONS said around half of the deaths will have occurred in the previous year due to delays with death registrations, with the majority before the pandemic.

The figures show that the age standardised mortality rate – which accounts for age and population size – was 7.6 per 100,000 people across England between 2018-20, up from 7.1 between 2017-19.

In Wigan, this rate for the most recent three-year period was higher, at 9.1 per 100,000. The figure was higher for men in Wigan (14.4) than women (3.8).

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