New Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures have revealed that 4,393 people died in England and Wales from taking drugs in 2019.
The statistics represent the highest number of drug-induced fatalities since 1993 and include a notable spike in cocaine-induced deaths for females, up 26.5 per cent on 2018.
Deaths from cocaine use have now risen for the eighth consecutive year, and fatalities are already double those recorded in 2015.
New ONS analysis showed that, in the last decade, rates of drug deaths have been higher in deprived areas of England and Wales.
The North East of England is particularly affected, registering the highest drug-related death rate for seven successive years.
It also identified that the age at which most drug deaths occur has changed from 20 to 29-year-olds between 1993 and 2002, to 40 to 49-year-olds today.
The statistics authority suggested that this could be a result of people born in the 1960s and 1970s dying from drug misuse in greater numbers over time.
In May, Lawrence Gibbons, Head of Drug Threat at the National Crime Agency, told The Times that the “UK is the biggest user of powder cocaine in Europe”.
He said: “people need to understand the harm that is done to families, loved ones, children.
“And users should learn about the reality of a trade that is run by criminal gangs who use guns, violence, trafficking and debt bondage.”