Alcohol and drug-related deaths increase a ‘wake-up call’ says Swanswell

16 May 2012

A 15% increase in the number of alcohol and drug-related deaths in England should be a wake-up call, according to Swanswell.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to new figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) released today (16 April), that report avoidable deaths in England and Wales in 2010.

According to the ONS, there were 6,396 deaths linked to drug use disorders (alcohol-related diseases or illicit drug use) in England in 2010, compared to 5,572 in 2001 – an increase of 15%.

In Wales, the number of alcohol or drug-related deaths between 2001 and 2010 has increased by 31% from 380 in 2001 to 496 in 2010.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Today’s figures are very concerning and should be a wake-up call to society.

‘Deaths from drug or alcohol-related causes are preventable, so we need to urgently look at why more people are dying from substance misuse, than in 2001.

Alcohol and drug misuse is something no single government or organisation can tackle on its own – it’s something we must all have a part in, whether that’s educating others or taking responsibility for our own use.

We recognise that efforts such as the introduction of minimum pricing are a step in the right direction but that alone won’t make too much of a difference – promotion, where alcohol is placed and the product itself should all be considered too.

Ultimately, better education and good quality support are key to helping people understand the risks associated with alcohol and drug misuse, so it’s vital there’s consideration for increased funding to make this happen.’

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