Hyn­d­burn among worst places in the UK for heroin deaths

Accrington Observer - - FRONT PAGE - STE­FAN JAJECZNYK AND CHRIS GEE

HYN­D­BURN has been named among the coun­try’s worst 10 blackspots for deaths from heroin abuse.

The bor­ough recorded an ‘ap­palling’ av­er­age death rate of 5.7 deaths from heroin and mor­phine per 100,000 pop­u­la­tion - the sixth high­est rate in Eng­land and Wales, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the Of­fice for Na­tional Sta­tis­tics.

The fig­ure - based on deaths in 2016 - is more than three times the na­tional av­er­age, while the death toll in Hyn­d­burn from mis­use of the drugs was 13 in the pre­ced­ing two-year pe­riod.

Hun­coat coun­cil­lor Ea­monn Hig­gins, a para- medic and for­mer chair­man of Hyn­d­burn’s Health and Com­mu­ni­ties Work­ing group, said he sees only too of­ten the in­crease in heroin mis­use in Hyn­d­burn.

He said: “It’s def­i­nitely a big prob­lem in the bor­ough. Sev­eral times a week we are called out to peo­ple who have over­dosed.

“In most cases we are able to ad­min­is­ter an an­ti­dote and the per­son re­cov­ers but some­times it’s too late, with fa­tal con­se­quences and the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects on that per­son’s fam­ily.”

Deaths were in­cluded where the un­der­ly­ing cause was due to drug poi­son­ing and where heroin and/or mor­phine was men­tioned on the death cer­tifi­cate.

An­drea Adam­son, 55, has spo­ken out against the dan­gers of drug abuse since her son Adam Cow­ell died in Novem­ber 2016 from a lethal amount of co­caine.

An­drea, of Ha­worth Street, Oswaldtwistle, said: “To think drugs are so eas­ily avail­able is hor­ri­fy­ing. Maybe be­cause there’s a de­spon­dence in the town - is there any won­der why they get into drugs?

“There’s noth­ing for the young ones to do - no jobs, empty shops, no town cen­tre and no hope. Poverty con­trib­utes to peo­ple get­ting down.”

An­drea bravely fronted the Ac­cring­ton Ob­server’s cam­paign, launched in 2016, against co­caine use in the bor­ough af­ter we re­vealed that at least 17 peo­ple in the lo­cal area had lost their lives to the drug in the pre­ced­ing months.

Anal­y­sis by the Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil on the Mis­use of Drugs has con­cluded that a ‘deep­en­ing of so­cio-eco­nomic de­pri­va­tion since the fi­nan­cial cri­sis of 2008’ was a pos­si­ble fac­tor in ris­ing dru­gre­lated deaths.

Josh Allen runs Hyn­d­burn-based com­mu­nity group the Walm­s­ley Foun­da­tion, which comes into con­tact with a lot of vul- ner­a­ble peo­ple.

He said: “We’re a de­prived area and there are a lot of young peo­ple look­ing for an es­cape. I def­i­nitely think there is a cor­re­la­tion be­tween drugs and poverty. It’s ap­palling - but it’s not a sur­prise.”

Josh says that many peo­ple with drug prob­lems of­ten won’t turn to any­one for help un­til it is too late.

He added: “There’s some sup­port, but not di­rected enough - you have to look hard to find these groups. More needs to be done to tell peo­ple that there are peo­ple who are will­ing to talk, lis­ten and help.”

The ONS re­port re­ferred to the ‘Trainspot­ting Gen­er­a­tion’, which be­came ad­dicted to heroin in the 1980s and 1990s, as a pos­si­ble ex­pla­na­tion for why the high­est rate of death from drugs mis­use was among 40 to 49-year-olds. The two high­est death rates in Eng­land and Wales were recorded in Black­pool and Burn­ley.

Above: heroin para­pher­na­lia

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