Half of all murders drug-related

Drug-related murders account for 52 per cent of all cases in England and Wales, new figures have shown.

Using Home Office data, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that 1,627 of the 3,148 murders committed between April 2018 and March 2023 were linked to drugs.

The Home Office records drug-related murders as “any case involving a drug user or drug dealer, or that is related to drugs in any way”.


Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye said: “Illegal drugs not only ruin lives, they also cost lives. There is no such thing as recreational drug use when we consider the wider social impact and extreme violence that line its supply chain.

“I and other Police and Crime Commissioners are backing the government’s ten-year drugs strategy to reduce the level of drug addiction in the country, as well as tougher enforcement action against suppliers.”

In the year ending March 2023, 310 homicides, or 53% of homicides, were drug related Office for National Statistics

Callum Newton, from think tank Onward, told the Daily Express: “Drugs are plaguing Britain’s streets – and with half of all murders now linked to these life-wrecking substances, efforts to tackle them must be doubled”.

The Christian Institute’s Ciarán Kelly added: “The evidence is clear: illegal drugs destroy lives and families and rip apart the fabric of society. They are a blight on our country and need to be treated as such. Any talk of decriminalisation has to stop”.

Drug-poisoning deaths

According to the ONS, the latest published figures also show that there were 4,907 deaths related to drug poisoning in 2022 – the highest number since records began in 1993, and a 1 per cent increase on the 2021 figure.

Approximately five in ten deaths were linked to opioids such as heroin and methadone.

For the year ending March 2023, the ONS said that an estimated 9.5% of 16 to 59-year-olds in England and Wales “reported using a drug”.

Also see:

Recovering addict: ‘Easier to get crack cocaine than a takeaway’

Tánaiste ‘open to’ drug ‘shooting gallery’ in Cork

Oregon proposes recriminalising drugs amid addiction crisis