The number of drug-related deaths has more than doubled in a decade in Northern Ireland.
Figures revealed from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) shows that in 2018, the highest number of drug related and drug-misuse deaths were recorded.
The report was analysed by addiction treatment firm, UKAT were they recorded 189 drug-related deaths in Northern Ireland in 2018 which is more than double a decade ago.
This is 40% more than the previous year, up from 136 back in 2017.
The figures show that of the 189 drug-related deaths in 2018, 72 (38.1%) were in the 25-34 age group with a further 50 (26.5%) in the 35-44 age group, indicating that more young people living in Northern Ireland are dying from drugs.
Half of these deaths were young men aged 25-44 and in total, male deaths of all ages accounted for 70% of all drug-related deaths in 2018 (133).
The figures further show that between 2017 and 2018 the drug-related mortality rate increased for both males and females.
The rate for males increased from 11.0 per 100,000 males in 2017 to 14.4; for females the equivalent rate rose from 3.7 per 100,000 females to 5.9, stark and concerning rises.
Nuno Albuquerque, a drug addiction treatment expert at UKAT, said:
"Today's report from the NISRA paints an extremely worrying picture for those living with a drug problem in Northern Ireland.
"It's important to remember that these aren't just statistics, they're someone's mother, father, child or friend who have sadly died as a direct result of drug misuse.
"Insight like this is meant to better inform local policy and budget decision makers, in order to proactively improve the lives of vulnerable people living in Northern Ireland. We're keen to hear what positive steps are going to be taken with regards to drug and alcohol treatment and prevention services after today's stark and dark report."