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Drugs caused record number of deaths in England and Wales in 2016

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j3750 (Published 03 August 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j3750
  1. Richard Hurley
  1. The BMJ

The number of deaths from drug poisoning reached record levels in England and Wales last year, official figures have shown.

The Office for National Statistics, which compiled the figures, said that drug poisoning caused a higher number of deaths to be registered in England and Wales in 2016 than in any year since 1993, when comparable figures started being collected.1

In total, 3744 people in England and Wales had their cause of death registered in 2016 as poisoning by legal or controlled drugs, 70 more than in 2015. Two thirds of these deaths (2593) followed drug misuse.

More than half (2038) of all drug poisoning deaths resulted from an opioid, such as heroin or morphine (1209). Methadone caused 413 …

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