When it comes to drug-related deaths there can be no doubt that we are witnessing an epidemic in the UK. Deaths in 2016 were at their highest since comparable statistics began in 1993 and at Broadway we witness first-hand the distressed condition of people struggling with drug addiction.

Compared with other diseases, drug-related deaths do not get the media attention they deserve. Often this is due to stigma and lack of interest or care for people who are judged to be pursuing a drug-using lifestyle out of personal choice.

It is a national tragedy and the third most common cause of death for people aged between 15 and 49; the statistics behind drug related deaths in the UK are startling.

  • Across England and Wales in 2016 there were 3,744 drug poisoning deaths recorded; an increase of 2% on the year before and the highest since records began in 1993.
  • Drug deaths reached 2,383 in 2016; an increase of 3.6% on the previous year and the highest figure ever recorded in the UK.
  • People aged 40 to 49 had the highest drug misuse rates in 2016, overtaking those aged 30 to 39 years old and contradicting the common narrative of drug misuse as a ‘young persons’ problem’.
  • 54% of drug deaths involved opiates such as heroin and morphine.
  • 73% of all drug deaths in 2016 occurred in men.
  • The north-east suffered most with the highest mortality rate of any area in the UK, with 77.4 drug deaths per 1 million population.
  • Analysis from Public Health England found that alcohol was mentioned in around a third of drug misuse deaths in England.

Those numbers are shocking but for those of us working in drug rehabilitation they are a reminder of the work still to do.

Drug addiction is an issue that can affect anyone from any walk of life. It is not an issue that affects just the poor or the wealthy; it is a problem that we share as human-beings. Tackling it demands a multi-disciplinary approach that requires detoxification, intensive psychosocial interventions, introduction to a structured abstinence-based 12-step recovery programme, continuity of recovery support in communities (fellowships), developing a greater understanding and empathy for addiction and working together to address stigma and provide a strong and empowering platform and support for sustained recovery.

Addiction will only be overcome if people struggling with it can get the help they need. That means seeking professional help either for yourself or somebody that you know. An abstinent lifestyle is simply the surest way to ensure the best chance of recovery and to eliminate the possibility of a drug-related death. Broadway Lodge will put you on that road to recovery.