The number of drug-related deaths over the last three years has fallen in Wrexham but risen in Flintshire, according to statistics.

New figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) provide local data for drug-related deaths in three-year periods.

Between 2015 and 2017, 23 drug poisoning fatalities were registered in Wrexham, at a rate of 5.8 in every 100,000 people. Of those deaths, 18 were men and five were women.

During the same period 32 drug poisoning fatalities were registered in Flintshire, at a rate of 7.2 in every 100,000 people. Of those, 21 were men and 11 were women.

Between 2012 and 2014, 19 drug-related deaths were recorded in Flintshire and 32 were recorded in Wrexham.

Across England and Wales, 3,756 deaths involving legal and illegal drugs were recorded in 2017.

It represents a small increase on 2016, and is the highest total since comparable records began in 1993.

ONS health analysis statistician Ellie Osborn said: "The figures show that the level of drug poisoning deaths in 2017 remained stable.

"However, despite deaths from most opiates declining or remaining steady, deaths from fentanyl continued to rise, as did cocaine deaths, which increased for the sixth consecutive year."

Of the 32 drug poisoning deaths in Flintshire between 2015 and 2017, 69 per cent were registered as being down to misuse, meaning they involved illegal drugs or were as a result of drug abuse or dependence.

A total of 14 of the Wrexham deaths between 2015 and 2017 were registered as being down to misuse.

Information on the type of drugs recorded as being a factor in deaths is not released for the local authority.

But figures for the whole of England and Wales show that heroine and morphine were the most common drugs in drug-related deaths.

They were registered in 1,164 deaths in 2017 – however, this is down on 2016 and the first year-on-year drop since 2012.

Antidepressants, which were a factor in 484 deaths, were the next biggest killer.

There were 432 cocaine-related deaths, nearly four times the level in 2011.

Karen Tyrell, executive director of alcohol and drug charity Addaction, said: "The truth is that most drug-related deaths are preventable.

"People who use opioids often have cumulative physical and mental health problems.

"Most of them have had very difficult, often traumatic lives and we're letting them down if we don't give them the best care that we can.

"Nobody wakes up in the morning and decides to become dependent on drugs.

"Everyone deserves help, and we know that every person can recover with the right support."