DRUG deaths have risen over the last three years.

New figures by the Office for National Statistics revealed a rise in drug-related deaths in Slough over the last three years. Between 2015 and 2017, there were 21 drug poisoning fatalities in Slough – representing 15 men and six women. Eight of these deaths were labelled as being down to 'misuse' - meaning they involved illegal drugs or severe drug dependence.

Between 2012 and 2014, there were 17 drug-related deaths in Slough.

Across Windsor and Maidenhead, drug deaths have fallen considerably. There were 12 drug poisoning deaths between 2015 and 2017, down from 22 between 2012 and 2014. The deaths represented seven men and five women.

The rise in drug deaths follows a national trend – there were 3,756 deaths involving legal or illegal drugs in 2017, a small increase over 2016, and the highest total since comparable records began in 1993.

Although information was not available for which drugs were responsible for the fatalities, nationally, heroin and morphine are the biggest killers, followed by antidepressants, then cocaine. Deaths from heroin and morphine have dropped slightly, however, whilst cocaine fatalities have quadrupled since 2011.

Karen Tyrell, director of alcohol and drug charity Addaction, said: "The truth is that most drug-related deaths are preventable. People who use opioids often have cumulative physical and mental health problems. Most of them have had very difficult, often traumatic lives and we're letting them down if we don't give them the best care that we can.

"Nobody wakes up in the morning and decides to become dependent on drugs. Everyone deserves help, and we know that every person can recover with the right support."