Record number of drug-related deaths a 'wake-up call' to Government, says RCPsych

Press release
15 August 2019

Responding to new statistics showing a record number of drug-related deaths in England and Wales, Dr Emily Finch, the vice-chair of our Addictions Faculty, said: “The highest-ever recorded number of people dying through drug-related deaths in England and Wales should serve as a wake-up call to the Government that their approach to addiction services is putting people’s lives at risk.

“The 28% cut in spending in today’s prices on adult drug misuse services in England since 2013/14 has starved services of the money needed to treat people living with this potentially life-ending illness.

“Shortages in skilled professional staff and the disconnection between health and addiction services means patients living with multiple health needs cannot be properly treated.

“National decision makers need to wake up to the fact that swingeing cuts to services, disconnecting NHS mental health services from addiction services and shifting the focus away from harm reduction to abstinence-based recovery is destroying lives and fuelling the increase in drug-related deaths.”

For further information, please contact: