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Lib Dems call for drug policy change after record number of deaths in 2016

Lib Dems call for drug policy change after record number of deaths in 2016
1 min read

The Liberal Democrats have branded the Government’s efforts to stem the drug trade an “abject failure” after a record number of people died from substance abuse last year.  

There were 3,744 deaths from drugs poisoning registered in 2016, 70 more than the previous year and the highest number since comparable records began in 1993.

Of those deaths, the majority (69%) were attributed to drugs misuse, the Office for National Statistics said.

The Lib Dems argued at the recent election that cannabis should be legalised and that personal use of other drugs should be decriminalised.

Norman Lamb, the party’s health spokesman, said of today’s figures: “These latest statistics highlight the abject failure of the Government's drug strategy. 

“Lives are being lost but the Conservatives seem wedded to this hard-line approach. 

“We have to accept the realities facing us and start taking action that works. Rather than locking up addicts we should be giving these individuals the help they need. How many more lives will be lost before the Government realises this?”

The ONS identified a 16% increase in cocaine-related deaths as one of the factors behind the overall increase.

The report said: “The National Crime Agency reports that there was a significant increase in both crack and powder cocaine purity at all levels in 2016, including user-level, which may partly explain the increase in deaths relating to cocaine.”

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