DOZENS of drug-related deaths were recorded in Northumberland last year.

The North-East has the highest rate of drug deaths in the country as drug-related deaths in England and Wales reach another record high.

Data shows people in the North-East were more than three times more likely to die due to drugs misuse than people in the East (104.1 deaths per million versus 27.4 deaths per million) and they were more than three times more likely to die from drug poisoning than people in London (163.4 deaths per million versus 47.6 deaths per million).


Thirty-seven deaths related to drug poisoning were registered in the county in 2021 - up by one the previous year - according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

They were among 4,859 drug poisoning deaths registered across England and Wales last year – the ninth consecutive rise and the highest number since records began more than a quarter of a century ago in 1993.

The figures cover drug abuse and dependence, fatal accidents, suicides and complications involving controlled and non-controlled drugs, prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Of the drug deaths recorded nationally last year, 3,060 (63 per cent) were due to misuse, meaning they involved illegal drugs, or were a result of drug abuse or dependence – including 13 in Northumberland.

Around half of the deaths registered nationally in 2021 will have occurred in previous years due to death registration delays, the ONS said.

The ONS said the overall rising trend over the past decade has been driven primarily by deaths involving opiates, but also those involving other substances such as cocaine.

Just under half of the drug deaths registered across England and Wales last year involved an opiate.

The ONS figures show that the age-standardised mortality rate – which accounts for age and population size – stood at 11.5 deaths per 100,000 people in the county between 2019 and 2021 - above the rate for England of 7.9.

A UK Government spokesman said its drug strategy will help rebuild drug treatment services and tackle criminal supply chains.

He added: “This will help to prevent nearly 1,000 deaths, deliver over 54,500 new treatment places – a 19 per cent increase on current numbers – and support 24,000 more people into recovery from substance dependency.

“This funding is additional to the annual public health grant spend and builds on the £80 million put into treatment services in 2021 which worked to decrease drug-related deaths by helping services distribute more naloxone, which can help reverse opiate overdoses.”