Welsh drug deaths are at their highest ever levels according to a new report by Public Health Wales, with deaths from drug poisoning having increased by 78 per cent over the last 10 years.
The report also highlights that drug deaths may be increasingly occurring in people using drugs on a recreational basis, with a rise in deaths involving cocaine, amphetamine and MDMA collectively accounting for 14 per cent of drug misuse deaths. These deaths tended to occur amongst younger people in their 20’s.
In a third of all drug deaths reviewed, ‘no known contact’ was reported between the deceased and any local health, social care or criminal justice services in the 12 months prior to death.
The report recommends action to influence the current legislative approach to drugs policy in the UK, as well as a medical amnesty policy to protect people seeking medical attention relating to drug poisonings.
Speaking in Tuesday's Business Statement, North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood referred to the figures and said given that the Welsh Government has been responsible for tackling substance misuse policy in Wales for two decades, the issue warrants a Statement from them.
Mr Isherwood AM said: “Given that the Welsh Government has been responsible for tackling substance misuse policy in Wales for two decades now, Llywydd, this merits a statement and I hope this might be forthcoming.”
The Trefnydd, Rebecca Evans AM, replied: “The Minister for Health and Social Services is currently consulting on the next substance misuse delivery plan, so I think that would be an opportunity for Mark Isherwood to explore that plan to ensure that he's satisfied that it addresses the kind of issues that he described relating to drug poisoning".