Drug deaths rise across the county
New figures reveal fatal cases have nearly doubled since 2001
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.