3rd Jul, 2022

Drug deaths: PCC speaks out as deadly toll rises

WEST Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster has called for more to be done to tackle drug deaths following the publication of data from the Office for National Statistics on drug related deaths.

The figures show there were 215 drug related deaths in the West Midlands in the year ending March 2020, eising from 185 in 2019.

In England and Wales there were 4,561 drug related deaths in that period, rising from 4,393 in 2019.

The PCC has also affirmed his commitment to working with providers of substance misuse support and partner agencies to help those with addiction problems get their lives back on track.

“These statistics are deeply saddening,” said Mr Foster.

“Every person who loses their life to drugs is someone’s son or daughter, husband or wife, partner, brother or sister – it is tragic and nobody should have to suffer that.

“Clearly this new data shows more needs to be done, locally and nationally to help people break the cycle of addiction and get their lives back.

“Drugs cost the West Midlands £1.4billion each year and half of all burglary, robbery, shoplifting and thefts are committed by someone looking to fund their drug addiction.

The current approach we have in this country to drugs isn’t working.

“The government have a major role to play in changing the way drug policy is seen in the UK. It should act with haste to implement the recommendations of Dame Carol Black’s review into drug prevention, treatment and recovery and especially the reference to the need for a long term funding approach from government.

“I am committed to continuing to work to help people suffering with substance misuse problems get the support and help they need.

“The work we are doing in the West Midlands with the Cranstoun Arrest Referral Service and DIVERT will help to engage and support those with drug addiction as well as helping to stop lower level drug offenders get caught in the cycle of crime, but more needs to be done.”

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