Deaths caused by the opioid fentanyl are rising in the UK | Innovation
There were 75 deaths caused by the strong opioid drug fentanyl in England and Wales last year, up 29 per cent from 58 deaths in 2016.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that can be 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine and has recently crossed over into use as an illegal street drug.
The newly published figures, from the Office for National Statistics, reveal that carfentanyl – which is even more powerful than fentanyl – was mentioned on death certificates for the first time in 2017, and accounted for 27 deaths.
However, deaths from most other opiates may be in decline in England and Wales. 2017 saw a 4 per cent decrease in heroin and morphine deaths, down to 1164 people. This is the first decline in deaths from these drugs since 2012.
The data on drug poisoning deaths also show that cocaine deaths have risen for the sixth year in a row. In 2016, 371 people died from cocaine use, rising to 432 in 2017. This data does not distinguish between powder cocaine or crack cocaine.
Overall, the figures show that the level of drug poisoning deaths in England and Wales has remained stable from the previous year, says Ellie Osborn, of the Office for National Statistics.
Read more: Police warned of drug so powerful it can kill in one breath
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