Drug deaths rise across the county

New fig­ures re­veal fa­tal cases have nearly dou­bled since 2001

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - by TOM HER­BERT tom.her­bert@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @TRHer­bert

Drug deaths across Buck­ing­hamshire have nearly dou­bled since the turn of the mil­le­nium, shocking new fig­ures have re­vealed.

Be­tween 2014 and 2106, deaths re­lated to drug mis­use reached its joint high­est level since 20012003, ac­cord­ing to the Of­fice for Na­tional Statis­tics (ONS).

In this pe­riod there were 40 deaths from drug mis­use across the county, with 17 in Ayles­bury Vale, 15 in Wy­combe, five in Chiltern and three in South Bucks.

These fig­ures are only matched by those recorded be­tween 2005 and 2007, where there were nine deaths in Ayles­bury Vale, 19 in Wy­combe, eight in Chiltern and four in South Bucks, to­talling 40.

Ayles­bury Vale has topped the ta­ble since 2013, record­ing 17 deaths in 2013-2015 and the same in 2014-2016.

While in High Wy­combe deaths jumped from 11 to 15 in the same pe­riod, while Chiltern re­mained sta­ble at five and South Bucks saw an in­crease from one to two drug mis­use deaths.

Last year, Che­sham teenager Olivia Christo­pher was found dead in her tent at a pop­u­lar mu­sic fes­ti­val af­ter tak­ing a cock­tail of dan­ger­ous drugs.

The 18-year-old had taken MDMA, co­caine, ke­tamine, ec­stasy and LSD at the Boom­Town Fair Fes­ti­val in Winch­ester, Hamp­shire.

She was found by her boyfriend Dan Holmes, of Bore­ham­wood, Hert­ford­shire, and the in­quest at Winch­ester Coroner’s Court heard Olivia was killed as a re­sult of fa­tal lev­els of MDMA and sleep­ing pill eti­zo­lam in her body.

And for­mer rugby player Jack Port­land died just two days af­ter Christ­mas in 2015 fol­low­ing a strug­gle with his men­tal health and drug abuse.

The 29-year-old, who played for Amer­sham and Chiltern, was di­ag­nosed with sub­stance-in­duced psy­chosis while serv­ing a sen­tence at HMP Wood­hill.

Later that year he was sec­tioned un­der the Men­tal Health Act and ad­mit­ted to the White­leaf Cen­tre, Ayles­bury when he was al­lowed un­escorted leave on De­cem­ber 27.

But Mr Port­land was found dead at a house in High Wy­combe later that day, with the med­i­cal cause of death given as mor­phine and al­co­hol tox­i­c­ity.

Of the 3,744 drug poi­son­ing deaths in­volv­ing both le­gal and il­le­gal drugs in Eng­land and Wales last year, 2,593 were drug mis­use deaths.

It means that 2016 saw the high­est lev­els of poisoin­ing deaths in­volv­ing le­gal and il­le­gal drugs since com­pa­ra­ble records be­gan in 1993.

Ear­lier this year, Thames Val­ley Po­lice and Hamp­shire po­lice launched a crack­down on drink and drug drivers in a bid to de­ter them.

The Joint Roads Polic­ing Unit (RPU) sup­ported the wider na­tional cam­paign, as both forces con­ducted tar­geted drink and drug-drive op­er­a­tions from June 1 un­til June 30.

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