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The number of alcohol and drug-related deaths recorded in England and Wales in 2020 was the highest since records began in 1993 the Office for National Statistics reports. Coroners recorded 4561 deaths attributed to drugs and 7423 to alcohol. The ONS said some of these deaths would have occurred in 2019, but were not reported due to delays in inquests taking place, as these can often be delayed by up to six months. However, these figures are concerning as we reported in our June newsletter that the number of drug-related deaths in Cumbria in 2019 was the highest ever, so another increase in these tragic deaths is evidence that more funding is needed for addiction services.
CADAS CEO, Leigh Williams, said that although these statistics are deeply saddening, they are not surprising as demand for CADAS’ services increased by 25% during the recent lockdowns. The addiction helpline setup during the first national lockdown now receives over 40 calls a month from people throughout the county seeking support for their own addictive behaviours or to support a friend, relative or someone they are caring for. Councillor Allison Johnston of Barrow Borough Council responded to the news that drug-related deaths had more than doubled in the town saying: ‘It is absolutely shocking. It links in with the deprivation we have got, and the pockets of poverty, high unemployment, and young people not having things to do.’ Ms Johnston added that it is important for people to have a sense of self-worth and positive mindset to do something with their own lives.