DRUG-related deaths in the Vale of Glamorgan spiked higher in 2018 than the Welsh average, according to a new report.

A Public Health Wales report showed the number of deaths in the Vale jumped from 4 people in 100,000 in 2017 to just under 10 in 100,000 in 2018.

Across Wales as a whole, drug-related deaths have reached their highest level on record, with an average of 7 deaths per 100,000.

Public Health Wales revealed the number of people dying from drug poisoning across Wales has increased by 78 per cent in just 10 years, while there has also been a rise in the death rates of younger people from substances such as cocaine and MDMA.

The health agency’s report makes a number of recommendations to tackle the increase, including protecting drug users from prosecution when seeking medical attention, and reclassifying heroin substitute Take-Home Naloxone as an over-the-counter medication.

A Vale council spokesman said: “A degree of caution should be exercised when interpreting this report’s figures on the Vale of Glamorgan, as coroner’s enquiries can sometimes take a matter of months if not years to complete.

“That means a number of the deaths registered in 2018 may have occurred in previous years and a number of deaths that actually happened in 2018 may not have been included in these figures.

“We take issues relating to substance misuse extremely seriously and last year spent around £200,000 on a range of support aimed at tackling this problem.

“The council is part of the substance misuse area planning board, a multi-agency partnership that aims to ensure the needs of people relating to substance abuse are met and that our approach is in line with the latest national guidance.

“Within the Vale, the Croes Ffin project is a supported accommodation facility that has nine units in Barry. It provides temporary supported accommodation for adults who have suffered from substance misuse issues and are either homeless or at risk of homelessness. Residents are helped to develop a tailored support plan that will allow them to live independently, with a focus on relapse prevention, education and training opportunities.

“The council also commissions Llamau and Gwalia (Pobl) to assist people with substance misuse issues through a ‘floating’ service, which offers support at a service user’s accommodation anywhere in the Vale. These services offer help in areas that those with substance misuse issues often have difficulties. They include managing accommodation, budgeting, assistance engaging with other support services, developing practical living skills, reducing isolation and loneliness, guidance on securing and maintaining accommodation and advice on how to increase personal safety and security. In addition, the council funds Hafod Care to base a support worker at the Newlands Alcohol and Drug Service in Barry, who provides similar support.”

There were 327 deaths from drug poisoning in Wales in 2018, 208 of which were classed as drug misuse fatalities.

Drug misuse deaths, a subset of poisoning deaths, increased by 12 per cent, from 185 deaths in 2017, with Wales having the second highest rates of drug misuse deaths in England and Wales regions.