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The rise in drug-related deaths needs to stop, and the Government can do something about it says Ron Hogg


The Government needs to reform drugs policy as deaths from substance misuse continue to rise, says Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg.

Speaking in advance of International Overdose Awareness Day, Ron pointed to an increase in deaths due to drug misuse: the highest mortality rate was seen in the North East, with 83.2 deaths per 1 million population, a 7.5% increase from 2016, compared to 42.7 deaths per million population in England.

Ron added “This is the human cost of a drug policy that isn’t working. Drug users should be able to seek medical treatment without fear of being criminalised. I continue to call on the Government to carry out a fundamental review of the current UK drug policy, as it urgently needs to do more to save lives and reduce drug related-harm.”

“We need more investment in services to support people to recover from drug addiction. Cutting funding for treatment services creates a false economy, because the cost of people remaining addicted to drugs will fall elsewhere on public services. I am therefore deeply concerned that the Government intends to cut funding for Public Health, with over £8m due to be removed from budgets in my area by 2020”.

Last year Ron published a detailed manifesto, Towards a Safer Drugs Policy, which includes six key proposals for drug policy reform aimed at reducing the harm and deaths caused by drugs.


For more information and arrange an interview with Ron Hogg, please call 07814 174417 or email pcvc.media@durham.pcc.pnn.gov.uk




Notes to editors

  • The ONS 2018 UK drug related deaths statistics are available at:



  • Ron Hogg’s report ‘Towards a Safer Drug Policy’, can be found online at http://www.durham-pcc.gov.uk/Information-Hub/Working-Towards-a-Safer-UK-Drug-Policy.aspx . It sets out six policies aimed at reducing drug-related harm:
    • Hold a fundamental review of UK Drugs Policy
    • Ensure the approach is firmly based on evidence
    • Support fully funded effective education and intervention
    • Develop effective responses to reduce the harm
    • Promote cost-effective specialist drug treatment and recovery as a proven way to reduce crime and make communities safer
    • Protect the vulnerable by supporting alternatives to the criminalisation of people who use drugs and focus efforts on tackling the organised crime groups


  • International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on 31 August each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. More information can be found at www.overdoseday.com/ and www.overdoseday.co.uk



Posted on Thursday 30th August 2018
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