DDN December 2022 DDN Dec_2022 | Page 4


Two in five deaths of homeless people drug-related

Almost two in five deaths of homeless people last year were related to drug poisoning , according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics ( ONS ). The high proportion remains consistent with previous years ( www . drinkanddrugsnews . com / two-in-five-homeless-deaths-nowdrug-related ).

There were almost 750 deaths of homeless people in England and Wales registered in 2021 , says ONS , which also included more than 70 alcohol-specific deaths and almost 100 suicide deaths . By comparison , the number of deaths involving COVID was 26 , although this was twice the figure for the previous year . The ONS data defines someone as homeless if they had been sleeping rough or using emergency or temporary accommodation at or around the time of death . Almost 90 per cent of the overall deaths were among men – again , consistent with previous years – and the highest number was recorded in the 45-49 age group . Most deaths were registered in London – at more than 150 – and the North West , but death registration delays mean that some of the deaths will have occurred in previous
800 years , ONS points out . The number of deaths 600 among homeless people has increased by more than 50 per
400 cent since the ONS data time series began a decade ago .
‘ The deaths of 741 homeless people in England and Wales registered in 2021 represents an increase of 7.7 per cent ( or 53 deaths ) from 2020 ,’ said James Tucker of the ONS social care and health division . ‘ The latest figure is more in line with pre-pandemic levels following a notable fall in 2020 , although it ' s too early to say whether this is a resumption of an upward trend in homeless deaths . Any death in these circumstances is a tragedy and our estimates are designed to help inform the work of everyone seeking to protect this highly vulnerable section of
The estimated number of deaths among homeless people has increased by 53.7 % since 2013
482 475
our community .’ ‘ Each one these people was someone ’ s child , sister or brother – all with their own hopes and dreams ,’ said St Mungo ’ s chief executive Emma Haddad . ‘ Health and homelessness are inextricably linked and it is an awful reality that sleeping rough causes chronic illness and can lead to premature death , with the average age of death for someone living on the streets being around 30 years earlier than the general population . The government ’ s

APPG : Make tobacco firms pay

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
778 688
Source : www . ons . gov . uk
recently published rough sleeping strategy has a strong focus on prevention and tackling the root cause of homelessness . Today ’ s data shows yet again why it is so important we implement this to prevent people from ending up on our streets in the first place , especially as winter approaches , the current cost of living crisis worsens , and more people are facing losing their homes .’
Deaths of homeless people in England and Wales : 2021 registrations at www . ons . gov . uk

Unacceptable risk

THE GOVERNMENT should introduce an immediate windfall tax on tobacco companies along with an additional ‘ polluter pays ’ levy , says the All Party Parliamentary Group ( APPG ) on Smoking and Health – the additional levy would work to limit profits to the average 10 per cent margin for businesses .
The windfall tax could raise £ 74m a year and the levy ten times that , says the APPG , which could help pay for the ‘ shortfall in funding for tobacco control and public health ’. Reducing smoking rates would also help to ease the annual £ 17bn cost to the NHS , social care and the UK economy , it says , as well as help families during the cost-of-living crisis .
The average smoker pays around £ 2,000 a year ‘ to fund an addiction which for most starts in childhood ’, it states , with lung cancer now the cause of one in five of all UK cancer deaths .
‘ Banks and energy companies have been made subject to windfall taxes , so why not the tobacco manufacturers , who make eye wateringly high profits from products which kill two out of three lifelong customers ?’ said APPG chair Bob Blackman MP .
The windfall tax could raise £ 74m a year and the levy ten times that ... which could help pay for the ‘ shortfall in funding for tobacco control and public health ’.
MORE THAN 90 PER CENT of ambulance staff in the North East of England surveyed by Balance say that dealing with intoxicated patients is wasting valuable capacity and resources , with 40 per cent saying they ’ ve received threats of physical violence on at least six occasions .
Just one in ten said they ’ d never been threatened by an intoxicated patient or member of the public while on duty .
‘ The increased risky drinking we saw on the back of the pandemic is likely to lead to thousands of extra cases of disease and premature death ,’ said Balance ’ s head of alcohol policy Susan Taylor . ‘ And for 999 crews it has created additional pressure on already stretched services .’ The North East continues to have the highest rates of alcohol-specific deaths in England .