Drug poisoning deaths rose 20% in England last year – with the North West named the top region for the seventh consecutive time.
A total of 1,182 deaths in England last year were attributed to drug poisoning with 322 in the North West. The mortality rate was the highest of any region in England at 46.8 deaths per million people, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics.
The shocking statistics show that the number of fatalities was twice as big as the rate for London, while only the North East saw a higher proportion of deaths per population.
Colin Tyrie, Senior Public Health Development Advisor for Substance Misuse at the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care NHS Trust said they are working with drug users to try and tackle the issue.
“The Trust is working closely with drug users to impart safety information and reduce the risks for those people who are at risk through lack of awareness around potential safety measures,” Mr Tyrie said.
“We also are working to promote information and safety around drug use within the high-risk areas, such as in-patient mental health services and urgent care services.
“We are also providing GPs with information that they can relay to their patients who may have identifiable concerns around drug risks.”
Mr Tyrie also warned of the danger of addicts relapsing and returning to drugs.
“It is vital that people who have stopped using drugs or alcohol following a period of recovery are made fully aware that the highest risk of drug-related death is through a ‘relapse’ in their use of the drug and their tolerance being lowered,” he said.
“This leaves them exceptionally vulnerable to overdose at a time when they are alone and not found until too late.”
In 2012, 1,492 people died in England from drugs misuse – but that figure has seen an increase of more than 20% for the nation as a whole in just one year.
Marcus Roberts, the Chief Executive of the UK’s leading independent centre of expertise on drugs and drug use DrugScope, believes the dramatic national increase is a worrying sign that the work to combat the problem in recent years could be undone.
“DrugScope has serious concerns over the significant increase in the number of drug-related deaths registered in England and Wales last year,” he said.
“The figures mark a reversal of the recent downward trend and appear to show the sharpest increase since the early 1990s.
“Of course, this is about more than just numbers – each death represents a tragedy for the individual concerned, their family and friends.”
If you are concerned about your own or someone else’s drug use, there is helpful information at here or by contacting Manchester RISE treatment services on 08452 410 460
Image courtesy of Urban Seed Foundation with thanks