On International Overdose Awareness Day, we call on the Government to act

The English Harm Reduction Group are today calling for the Government to respond to the continued rise in drug related deaths.

On International Overdose Awareness Day, we write to express our shock at the continued rise in opioid-related deaths. Heroin and morphine related deaths rose by 109 per cent in England and Wales between 2012 and 2016, when the evidence is overwhelming that harm reduction interventions such as naloxone and opioid substitution therapy (OST) can reduce them. Over half of deaths by poisoning are as a result of heroin/morphine, so wider provision of harm reduction is urgently needed.

We are enormously frustrated that the Government’s recently published Drug Strategy has no plan to combat the rise in deaths. As alarming are the further cuts to local authorities’ public health budgets. To be effective, drug services must be well funded and must be realigned to embrace harm reduction interventions. People who inject drugs are a marginalised group, and the Government has a moral obligation to support them.

Signatories

Niamh Eastwood, Release
Deborah Gold, NAT (National AIDS Trust)
Chris Ford, IDHDP
John Jolly, Blenheim CDP
Kate Halliday, SMMGP

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