Hampshire’s police boss has said she is concerned over the use of opiates in the county that led to an increase in “accidental deaths” in 2022.

Office for National Statistics figures show there were 82 drug poisoning deaths in Hampshire in 2022, up from 81 the year before.

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

Of those drug-related deaths, 3,127 were because of misuse, meaning they involved illegal drugs or were a result of drug abuse or dependence.

In Hampshire, 62 of the deaths were identified as drug misuse. Some 2,261 deaths (46 per cent) in 2022 involved an opiate, such as heroin or morphine, while 857 deaths involved cocaine, with the number rising for the 11th consecutive year.

Police and crime commissioner Donna Jones said a nationwide increase in the use of opiates had had a knock-on effect in Hampshire.

Ms Jones said she was “very concerned” and added that policing minister Chris Philp had spoken in Vienna on how Britain was determined to prevent deaths through accidental overdoses.

She added: “This is about the drying up of the normal heroin supply into Britain coming from Afghanistan that has significantly slowed over the last 12 months.

“It has hit America quicker and harder than it has hit us, but the criminal gangs around the world, mainly in China, have spotted the opportunity in the market and are creating synthetic opioids which are up to 100 times stronger.”