The number of people dying from drug misuse on the Isle of Wight has more than doubled within the last decade.

Drug-related deaths have increased again, with the mortality rate above the national average.

There were 38 deaths related to drug poisoning on the Island in 2016-18, including 29 relating to drug misuse, according to a report published this week by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

A death is classed as drug misuse if it was due to drug abuse or dependence, or if it involved a controlled substance.

The number of drug misuse deaths has more than doubled on the Island since 2010-12, when there were 13 deaths, and increased slightly on the last reported figure of 28 for 2015-17.

The Isle of Wight’s mortality rate for drug misuse deaths is also 67 per cent higher than the national average for 2016-18.

England’s age-standardised mortality rate is 4.5 deaths per 100,000, but the figure for the Isle of Wight is 7.5 per 100,000.

An Isle of Wight Council spokersperson said:

“The Isle of Wight Public Health team commissions substance misuse services to work with people of all ages to tackle drug use.

“This includes providing medical and behavioural support for people to sustaIin changes and reductions in drug use, and providing the facilities for safe use of drugs and detoxification.

“The team works closely with providers to make sure that services are flexible to the needs of the population, and that people can access support from across the Island.

“Local partners in the police, probation and across health and social care work closely with the Public Health team to ensure that there is a coordinated response to drug misuse and that people can access support for their wider needs.

“Public Health also works with the inclusion team to regularly review the causes and lessons that can be learnt from drug-related deaths. A proactive approach is taken, feeding this back in to services to make sure that actions are taken to intervene early and prevent deaths where possible.

“This is part of a continued effort to improve drug and alcohol services on the Island, ensuring that people can access appropriate, coordinated support to sustain reductions in drug use.”

The ONS figures for the report are combined into three-year groups to ensure quality and robust rates are provided.