Figures from the Bureau of National Statistics show that the city recorded 36 drug-related deaths in 2020, up from 42 the year before.
The deaths are related to poisoning from a variety of illegal and legal drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
In Sunderland, 24 deaths were attributable to abuse, that is, illegal drugs, or drug abuse or addiction, in the past year.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) has urged the government, after years of cuts in addiction care, which it claims a record number of deaths across England and Wales – 4,561 in 2020 – with two-thirds of those from abuse.
Dr. Emily Finch, vice chairwoman of the Addiction Faculty at the RCP, said, “Years of cuts have ill-equipped addiction services to treat people and prevent these deaths from rising.
“The government needs to become aware that large cuts in services, the separation of NHS mental health services from addiction services, and the shift from harm reduction to abstinence-based recovery are destroying lives and fueling the increase in these drug-related deaths.” . “
The government has announced that it will establish a new drug department to end illegal drug-related illnesses and deaths.
A spokesman added: “We are already investing £ 148 million to address the root causes of substance abuse, including £ 80 million in treatment and recovery. This is the largest investment in the drug treatment system in 15 years. “