PRESCRIPTION drugs have been linked to the deaths of 12 people in Worcester over the last six years.

The figures were released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) after our recent story about the increase in drug-related deaths in Worcester.

Pete Szczepanksi, clinical lead for drugs charity Swanswell, said it is not a clear case of people committing suicide with prescription medication.

He said: “Very rarely are antidepressants used as a suicide method. New antidepressants aren’t very good at causing death.

"With some people they might not be on the right dose of medication so they may still feel down and distraught."

Mr Szczepanksi added that it is not always clear what the cause of death is in drug-related fatalities.

He said: “It all depends on the circumstances of death. You can have someone in their late 80s or 90s who is on Benzodiazepine who dies of natural causes."

He added that the antidepressant Citalopram, which was involved in the deaths of three people in the city between 2013 and 2017, was not linked to overdoses.

However, Mr Szczepanksi said the antidepressant Amitriptyline, which has been linked to four deaths in Worcester, did have the potential to cause harm.

The Swanswell worker said people can also overdose anti-anxiety drugs such as Clonazepam, Benzodiazepine, Pregabalin, Diazepam and Barbiturate - all of which were linked to deaths in the city.

All of the drug-related deaths were either the result of mental and behavioural disorders, accidental or deliberate poisonings, or assaults due to drugs.

Some 25 people died from drugs between 2015 and 2017, compared to 23 for 2014 to 2016, and 20 from 2013 to 2015.

In some cases, several drugs were linked to one death.