ONS statistics show that there were 335 drug-related deaths in the West Midlands between 2015 and 2017. On average, one person dies every three days in the force area, as a result of drugs misuse.
Commenting on the statistics, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, said: “I am committed to tackling drug-related crime, reducing the huge burden on the taxpayer and cutting the number of drug-related deaths.
“Despite the good work being done by many, collectively our approach to drugs is failing.
“If we are to cut crime and save lives there’s one thing we can all agree on; we need fresh ideas. The number of drug deaths is still far too high. They are causing untold human misery and are a huge cost to society.
“That is why I recently supported the introduction of safety testing and am working on a number of other initiatives to reduce the harm, cost and crime caused by drugs in the West Midlands.
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, has developed a raft of potential solutions to reduce harm and prevent drug-related crime.
The first of these was piloted just last week at the MADE Festival in Perry Park, Birmingham.
Revellers at the event were this year able to anonymously submit substances for analysis. Experts then tested the drugs, provided results and offered advice to prevent harm.
In total there were 54 samples of concern tested at MADE and 70 members of the public received a harm reduction counselling session.
- The average age of those using the service was 21.
- Over half the samples tested were MDMA.
- Of those who used the service, over 1 in 5 stated that they would now take a lower dose than they had previously been planning.
- 1 in 7 people who used the service chose to hand over the rest of their sample for disposal after hearing what it was.
- The strongest ecstasy pill tested was a ‘Yellow Visa’, which contained 240mg MDMA two to three times an average adult dose.
The Commissioner’s recommendations to tackle the cost of drugs to the West Midlands can be found here: https://bit.ly/2qNfniEBack to News Archive