The number of people who died from cocaine increased by 16 percent to 371; mainly men aged between 30 and 49. | Photo: AFP
Fentanyl, which was responsible for the death of Prince, is approximately 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that approximately 3,744 people – 2,572 men and 1,172 women – were fatally poisoned by both legal and illegal drugs in England and Wales in 2016.
This figure is 70 more than the previous year’s highest number.
Data showed that about 70 percent of the deaths were a result of “drug misuse,” with the highest rate occurring among 40- to 49-year-olds.
ONS said most of the death that was categorized under “misuse” was accidental, with suicide or mental and behavioral disorders causing the rest.
More than half of all deaths involved an opiate – mainly heroin or morphine – followed by antidepressants, benzodiazepine, cocaine, paracetamol and amphetamines.
The number of people who died from cocaine increased by 16 percent to 371; mainly men aged between 30 and 49.
According to Crime Survey for England and Wales, cocaine is the second most commonly used drug after cannabis.
A record number of drug-related deaths has been documented in England and Wales as the number of people killed by new psychoactive substances (NPS) and synthetic opioids continues to rise.
Synthetic cannabis like spice and mephedrone, which emulates speed, were the cause of 123 deaths in 2016.
While deaths involving mephedrone, also known as M-cat, meph and meow meow, decreased to the lowest level since 2012, there is growing concern about the violence-linked spice, particularly in prisons.
The ONS warned of a large increase in deaths involving fentanyl, used to manage severe pain. The opioid was responsible for the deaths of 58 people last year. The National Crime Agency has also linked the drug to an additional 60 deaths, in the UK, since Dec.
The drug is at the center of an overdose crisis in the United States and Canada.
Fentanyl, which was responsible for the death of singer Prince, is approximately 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. One of its analog derivative, carfentanyl, can be as much as 10,000 times stronger than street heroin.
Most local authorities have now allowed drug services to supply an overdose antidote – naloxone – to heroin users or their families.
The highest mortality rate was observed in northeast England, where there were 77.4 drugs deaths per 1 million people – an increase of 13 percent from 2015.
The lowest rate was in East Midlands, where there were 29.1 deaths per 1 million population.