Drug poisoning admissions continue to rise

Last year saw more than 18,000 hospital admissions for poisoning by drug misuse in England, according to figures from NHS Digital, an increase of 6 per cent on the previous year and 16 per cent since 2012-13.

Admissions for drug-related mental and behavioural disorders fell by 14 per cent, however, to just over 7,300, although this is still 30 per cent higher than a decade ago. Admissions for poisoning by drug misuse were five times more likely in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived, and six times more likely for mental or behavioural disorders. 

The number of deaths in England related to poisoning by drug misuse was 2,917, up 17 per cent on 2017 and almost 50 per cent on a decade ago. Two thirds of the record high number of overall drug poisoning deaths in England and Wales were related to drug misuse (DDN, September, page 4). 

The latest statistics from Public Health England (PHE), meanwhile, show a 7 per cent reduction in the number of young people in contact with alcohol and drug services, to 14,485 – down 40 per cent from a decade ago. Almost 90 per cent of young people accessing treatment did so for cannabis, with 44 per cent for alcohol, 14 per cent for ecstasy and 10 per cent for powder cocaine. Less than 1 per cent sought treatment for opiates, although the number was up from 187 to 216 compared to the previous year. A third of all young people starting treatment said they had a mental health treatment need. 

Statistics on drug misuse, England, 2019 at digital.nhs.uk

Young people’s substance misuse treatment statistics 2018 to 2019 at www.gov.uk 

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