THE number of drug-related deaths in the Braintree district more than doubled last year but remained in single figures.

Office for National Statistic figures show there were nine drug poisoning deaths in the district in 2022 – up from four the year before.

In Colchester the number of fatalities was up from 13 in 2021 to 21 in 2022, while the figures for Essex showed a 40 per cent rise in deaths from 60 to 85.

The figures include deaths from drug abuse and dependence, fatal accidents, suicides and complications involving controlled and non-controlled drugs, prescription and over-the-counter medications.

In the Braintree district, three of the deaths were identified as drug misuse.

Across England and Wales, there were 4,907 drug-related deaths in 2022 – the highest level since records began in 1993.

The drug-related death rate in the Braintree district is about half the national average.