Official ONS figures show 726 homeless people in England died in 2018, a 22% rise. This rise was largely attributable to a 55% rise in deaths due to drug poisoning.
Karen Tyrell, Spokesperson for drug and alcohol charity Addaction, said:
“These findings are tragic yet predictable. Such a stark rise in homeless deaths can’t be seen as just another sad fact of life. As a society we need to take action quickly.
“The rise in drug related deaths shows we need to start properly supporting the harm reduction measures that keep people alive. We need a national push to promote the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone until it has the same status as defibrillators. And more radical measures like drug testing and drug consumption rooms also shouldn’t be off the table.
“But we also must look at the bigger picture. Homelessness can be a chaotic, stressful and dangerous existence. People who use drugs need stability to address the issues behind their use. This comes through affordable housing, and properly funded welfare and treatment systems.”