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Alcohol-related deaths on the rise in Wales

The number of alcohol-related deaths in Wales rose to 504 in 2016 — an increase of 8.9% in 12 months, according to the latest annual report tracking progress on the government’s 10-year substance misuse strategy.

But more people said their substance misuse reduced following treatment — 77% in 2016 to 2017 compared with 69.2% in 2012 to 2013, it found.

Some 86.7% of people were referred for treatment and received support within the 20-day waiting-time target in 2016 to 2017, beating another target for at least 80% of people to access treatment within 20 working days of referral.

Wales also witnessed an increase in drug use and drug-related deaths, according to the ‘Substance misuse annual report and forward look 2017’ published on 14 November 2017.

Last year, there were 271 drug poisoning deaths, involving both legal and illegal drugs, compared with 238 in 2015. Some 192 deaths were attributed to drug misuse involving illegal drugs in 2016 compared with 168 in 2015.

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething commenting on the findings said: “I’m pleased there has been a significant improvement in the number of people with a substance misuse problem being seen within the 20-day target time, while more people are telling us they’re successfully reducing their dependence on alcohol or drugs following treatment.

“But we’re not complacent. Our aim is to ensure that people in Wales are aware of the dangers and the impact of substance misuse to enable them to make informed choices and to know where they can seek out help and support, because each death caused by alcohol or drug misuse is one that can be and should be avoided.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20203938

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