Mary Glindon – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Mary Glindon on 2016-09-13.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what response his Department plans to make to the reports published on 9 September by (a) the Office for National Statistics and (b) Public Health England on drug-related deaths; and if he will make a statement.

Nicola Blackwood

The Government is concerned by the increase in the number of drug-related deaths registered since 2013, particularly among ageing heroin users.

Effective drug treatment helps prevent drug-related deaths. The Government provides local authorities with funding to provide drug treatment through the Public Health Grant, and the Public Health Outcomes Framework includes an indicator measuring drug-related deaths. Last year the Government amended the Medicines Regulations to enable more people to have access to naloxone which reverses the effects of heroin overdoses. Many ageing drug users also have health problems that can and should be treated by the National Health Service.

Public Health England (PHE) and the Local Government Association convened an expert group to investigate the causes of the rise in drug-related deaths and how to prevent future premature deaths. The inquiry report was published on 9 September and a copy is attached. PHE will develop a further programme of work to prevent drug-related deaths in response to the inquiry report’s recommendations.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs has set up a working group to investigate and better understand drug-related drugs at the United Kingdom level, and we will respond in due course to any recommendations.