West Midlands drug deaths down by a quarter over last year

The number of deaths from drug overdoses in the West Midlands has fallen by almost a quarter – bucking the national trend.

Drug deaths in the West Midlands have fallen by almost a quarter over 12 months
Drug deaths in the West Midlands have fallen by almost a quarter over 12 months

In 2021 a total of 133 people died from drug misuse in the region, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a fall of 24.4 per cent on 2020.

Across England and Wales the figure rose by two per cent over the period, with many other areas of the country seeing a rise in the number of deaths.

The figures show that in Wolverhampton the number of overdose deaths more than halved from 26 to 12. Dudley saw a 55 per cent drop to five, while in Sandwell five deaths were recorded, down from nine in 2020.

In Birmingham the number of deaths fell from 81 to 79. Walsall was the only part of the region to see a rise, with the number of deaths rising from 14 to 15.

It marks a stark contrast from the previous set of figures, which showed the region's drug deaths hit a record of 176 in 2020 after a rise of 33 per cent.

Staffordshire saw a slight increase from 36 deaths to 37, while the Shropshire figure was up by two to 10, and in Telford there was a small drop from 10 to nine.

In its report the ONS said that nationally, people born in the 1970s continue to have the highest rates of drug misuse deaths.

The report said: "In 2021, the highest rate of drug misuse deaths was found in those aged 45 to 49 years, closely followed by those aged 40 to 44 years.

"They are part of the age cohort often referred to as 'Generation X', born between the late sixties and early eighties, who have consistently had the highest rates of drug misuse deaths for the past 25 years."

Greater Manchester saw the country's biggest spike in overdose deaths, up 39.4 per cent to 251, while in the East Midlands deaths were up 20 per cent to 237.

London saw a slight drop from 296 to 294.

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