Nearly 700 people have died as a result of taking drugs in Surrey in six years, while drug-related fatalities across the South East are the highest since records began in 1993.
The county saw 676 deaths between 2013 and 2019 with Guildford being the worst affected borough or district after 95 people died over that period.
Waverley has had the second highest number with 92 deaths related to drug use in the six years, while in Reigate and Banstead there were 72.
Woking has lost 65 residents to drugs while Spelthorne has seen 60 pass away. Tandridge has seen the fewest deaths, with 34.
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But despite the worrying death toll in Surrey, it is one of the few areas in the South East that is seeing improvement.
The rate has lowered slightly from 136 deaths between 2016-18, to 130 drug deaths between 2017-19. Surrey also has less than half the number of drug deaths than recorded in neighbouring Kent.
Nuno Albuquerque, of UK Addiction Treatment Centres, said: “These figures are saddening but unsurprising. It is here in black and white, the situation is only getting worse for those most vulnerable in society in particular.
“We urge council leaders here to invest in effective drug and alcohol services in their 2021 budget to avoid even more loss of life.
“We must remember that these aren’t just numbers. They are someone’s mother, father, child or friend.
“2020 has proven to be a difficult year for many and some will undoubtedly turn to misusing drugs as a coping mechanism.
“Our fear is that these figures could tip off the scale in next year’s report unless councils here take proactive, preventative action today in order to save lives tomorrow.”
Breakdown of drug deaths by district and borough
Elmbridge – 54
Epsom and Ewell – 33
Guildford – 95
Mole Valley – 59
Reigate and Banstead – 72
Runnymede – 54
Spelthorne – 60
Surrey Heath – 58
Tandridge – 34
Waverley – 92
Woking – 65