Deaths related to drug poisoning are at their highest level since electronic records began, new figures show.
Responding to the official statistics, the Government said “any death related to drugs is a tragedy”.
According to the figures, there were 3,346 drug poisoning deaths registered in England and Wales in 2014, the highest since comparable records began in 1993.
The Office for National Statistics, which released the information, said 67 per cent of the deaths involved illegal drugs.
The statistics also revealed that men were 2.5 times more likely to die from drug abuse than women.
People in their 40s had the highest mortality rate, at over 88 deaths per million. Those in their 30s were the second highest category.
The Department of Health said that its drug strategy is “about helping people get off drugs and stay off them for good, and we will continue to help local authorities give tailored treatment to users”.
Rosanna O’Connor, director of Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco at Public Health England, highlighted the number of deaths caused by heroin.
She commented: “The increased global availability and purity of heroin is clearly having an impact in England.
“Fewer people are using heroin but the harms are increasingly concentrated among older, more vulnerable users.”
Last year Downing Street reacted strongly against a call for a radical change in drugs policy, saying it would “send an incredibly dangerous message to young people”.
Earlier in 2014 an ex-drug addict told The Christian Institute how his various addictions led to feelings of paranoia, anxiety and depression.
Luke Wardle began selling drugs at the age of 15, went on to deal in amphetamines and developed a cocaine habit by the age of 19.
Luke told the Institute how smoking cannabis caused him to climb up the ladder of drugs.
Speaking of other addicts he knew, he explained how cannabis had left them in a “complete mess” with some even developing serious mental health problems including schizophrenia.
Later, however, Luke came to know Christ, and in May 2014 he shared his story with The Christian Institute.