Drug-related deaths in Barking and Dagenham highest since records began

More than £2m has been cut from rehab services in Norfolk. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

An increase in deaths involving substances like cocaine is contributing to an overall upward trend across England, ONS says. - Credit: PA

The number of drug-related deaths registered in Barking and Dagenham last year was the highest on record. 

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show deaths due to drug poisoning per 100,000 people rose to 5.8 in 2018-20, up from 4.7 for the 2017-19 period. 

The most recent figure compared with a rate of 5.4 across London as a whole.

In total, 15 deaths related to drug poisoning were registered in the borough last year – the most since records began in 1993 - out of 432 across London.

Due to death registration delays, around half of these deaths will have occurred in 2019 and most will have been before the pandemic, according to ONS.


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Across England, drug-related deaths increased for an eighth consecutive year to a record high of 4,312 in 2020.

ONS says the reasons for the upward trend are complex and differ by drug type.

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The overall trend is driven mainly by deaths involving opiates, but also an increase in deaths involving other substances like cocaine.

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