Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews

Drug related deaths: playing politics while people die

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 12 November 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6436
  1. Niamh Eastwood, executive director
  1. Release, London, UK
  1. niamh{at}
    Follow Niamh on Twitter @niamhrelease

Drug consumption rooms can save lives in the UK, says Niamh Eastwood

Once again the UK has recorded its highest rate of drug related deaths—this is the seventh annual increase we have witnessed. The number of people dying is now at unprecedented levels, which has led some, including me, to demand that the situation is treated as a public health emergency.

There were nearly 3000 drug misuse deaths in England and Wales in 2018, with nearly three in four of them involving opioids. The situation is worse in Scotland. These are not just statistics, these are human beings who were someone’s mum, dad, daughter, son, or sibling. These deaths, many of which are avoidable, are felt deeply by those left behind.

Drug consumption rooms (DCRs) are one way to reduce the scale of deaths. These facilities vary in what they offer, but the core of the service is the provision of a sterile space where people can inject or smoke illegally …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription