Drug Related Deaths on the Increase
There were plenty of recent headlines when official figures showed the number of drug-related deaths in England and Wales rose to record levels last year.
But the news did not come as a surprise to us.
The Office for National Statistics reported that 3,674 drug poisoning deaths involving legal and illegal substances were registered in 2015, with nearly 2,500 involving illegal drugs only.
The number of fatalities involving heroin and cocaine increased to the highest total since records began in 1993.
The ONS said the mortality rate from drug misuse was the highest ever recorded, at 43.8 deaths per million population.
Factors which are believed to be behind the figures include the increasing purity of substances, and the older age profile of drug users, who often have other health conditions which make them vulnerable.
Our own workplace drug testing data confirms the trend of rising numbers of middle-aged cocaine users.
We believe drug-related deaths will continue to increase for some years to come, given the fact that drugs are becoming more socially accepted, even though they remain illegal.
For some people, cocaine and cannabis use have become as big a part of the fabric of a night out as alcohol.
Certainly we are seeing this reflected in the results of the workplace drug tests that we conduct across all areas of the UK and across many sectors of commerce and industry.