A POLICE boss has called for urgent action to reduce the number of women dying from drug overdoses in North Wales.

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Griffith spoke out after hearing that 19 women died from overdoses in just two years.

Ms Griffith says this is despite figures showing fewer women are actually using drugs. She said: “It’s clear to me that drug use in women is different to the same issue with men.

“It seems, in women, the issue is often quite closely related to early trauma and domestic abuse, which can lead to a cycle of drug abuse.”

Ms Griffith also believes accessing help with addiction is more difficult for women and that can result in even more deaths. She added: “The UK life expectancy for women is now as high as 83.

“In female drug users, it’s as low as 49 and we have to go all the way back to 1901 to find a time when the mortality rate for women was that low.

“Women dependent on drugs isn’t just a problem we are finding in urban areas. It affects rural villages too.”

She added: “Providing a clean and safe place for drug users where they can also access help would be a step in the right direction and would help reduce deaths.

“Without a co-ordinated multi-agency response to what is a crisis will only result in more and more families being destroyed and more and more children losing their mums.”