Coroners plead for action over 'terrifying' drugs deaths

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The Independent Online
A group of coroners yesterday made an unprecedented appeal for action to tackle a "terrifying" escalation in the number of drug-related deaths. The four coroners, all based in Lancashire, said that two or three people throughout the country die from drug abuse or misuse every week.

Howard McCann, Andre Rebello, Anne Hind and George Howson said they believed the problem was a national one which needed a co-ordinated approach. "A coroner often makes a warning to others when someone has died as a result of taking drugs," Mr McCann said. "But we were rapidly coming to the conclusion that warning was having no effect whatsoever." He added that there seemed to be an acceptance among young people that they may die if they take drugs. According to Home Office figures, the number of drug deaths more than trebled in the 10 years to 1994, rising from 133 in 1984 to 489. Mr Rebello last week met Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, who said he was very concerned about the number of deaths resulting from the misuse of drugs.