THE number of people dying as a result of drugs poisoning in Wales increased by 40 per cent between 2003 and 2017, new figures have revealed.

The figures published by Newport's Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed there were 551 deaths recorded as a result of drugs poisoning in Wales in the period between 2001 and 2003 - but this increased by 218, or 40 per cent, to 769 in 2015-2017.

Although the total number of deaths in Gwent remained static, at 101 in both periods, Newport saw a slight increase, from 25 to 26, as did Monmouthshire, from eight to 12, and Torfaen, from 17 to 19.


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But the number of deaths in Blaenau Gwent was down from 20 to 15 and Caerphilly decreased from 31 to 29.

Founder of UKAT, which carried out the research, Eytan Alexander said: “Although the drug death toll in Wales is down slightly since the previous year, it is still a concern that the last couple of years has seen more drug related deaths than ever before.

"Councils across Wales should keep a close eye on data like this and let is shape their budgeting decisions for future preventative drug strategies as well as publicly funded treatment facilities.”

Men accounted for more than twice as many of the deaths than women, with 392 men dying in Wales in 2001-2003, including 71 in Gwent, compared with 159 women, 30 of which were in Gwent.

And in 2015-2017 547 men died in Wales, compared with 222 women. Men in Gwent accounted for 74 of these, while 27 of the women who died were from the region.

Responding to the figures, a Welsh Government spokesman said: “The Welsh Government is committed to tackling the avoidable harm caused by substance misuse.

"Despite continued cuts to our overall budget by the UK Government, this year we have increased our funding to £53 million a year to tackle substance misuse.

“Since the launch our substance misuse strategy in 2008 we have seen sustained improvements in waiting times for services.”

Gwent does not rank in the top five areas of Wales for drugs-related deaths. The greatest number were in Swansea, followed by Rhondda Cynon Yaf, Neath Port Talbot, Cardiff and Carmarthenshire.

Support with drug use is available from the Gwent Drug and Alcohol Service (GDAS) via 0333 999 35 77 or Help is also available from the Wales Drug and Alcohol Helpline (DAN), on 0808 808 2234 or via text on 81066.