Drug-caused ad­mis­sions for men­tal health go up

THE NUM­BER OF PEO­PLE AD­MIT­TED TO HOS­PI­TAL IN WEST LON­DON HAS RISEN BY 50% IN FOUR YEARS

Hayes & Harlington Gazette - - NEWS - By CLAIRE MILLER ed­i­to­ri­aluxbridge@trin­i­tysouth.co.uk Twit­ter: @GetWestLon­don

EIGHT peo­ple a day are be­ing ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal in west Lon­don with men­tal health prob­lems caused by drugs – with ad­mis­sions ris­ing by 50% in just four years.

Across the re­gion there were 2,982 hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions with a pri­mary or se­condary di­ag­no­sis of dru­gre­lated men­tal and be­havioural disor­ders in 2016/17 – an av­er­age of 8.2 a day.

This was up by 18% from 2,533 in 2015/16, and was a 50% rise from 1,992 ad­mis­sions recorded in 2013/14.

In Ham­mer­smith and Ful­ham, there were 381 ad­mis­sions, a rate of 211 per 100,000 peo­ple and 1.4 times the Eng­land rate of 149 per 100,000.

The bor­ough has seen ad­mis­sions rise by 15% in a year and by 34% since 2013/14, when there were 284 peo­ple ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal.

Houn­slow has seen a 77% rise in ad­mis­sions since 2013/14, up from 221 to 391, and West­min­ster had 452 ad­mis­sions in 2016/17, a rate of 171 per 100,000 peo­ple.

In Eal­ing, there were 544 ad­mis­sions in 2016/17, com­pared with 369 four years ago, and Hilling­don saw the ad­mis­sions rise from 199 in 2013/13 to 265 last year.

d, there were 82,135 hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions with a pri­mary or se­condary di­ag­no­sis of drug-re­lated men­tal and be­havioural disor­ders in 2016/17.

Drugs in­cluded cannabis, opi­oids and co­caine, as well as seda­tives, sleep­ing tablets and anti-anx­i­ety med­i­ca­tion.

Danielle Hamm, as­so­ciate di­rec­tor of pol­icy and cam­paigns at Re­think Men­tal Ill­ness, said: “Cer­tain drugs have been known to prompt a men­tal ill­ness – for ex­am­ple, strong cannabis known as ‘skunk’ has been linked to schizophre­nia.

“We also know that us­ing drugs when you have a men­tal health prob­lem can com­pli­cate your re­cov­ery, and can in­crease the like­li­hood of self-harm and sui­cide.”

She said more re­search was needed into why peo­ple were be­ing ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal, sug­gest­ing that fac­tors such as more aware­ness of the prob­lem and lo­cal clo­sures of drug and al­co­hol units may im­pact on num­bers.

Ad­mis­sion num­bers are at a sim­i­lar level to 2015/16, when there were 81,904 ad­mis­sions, but more than dou­ble the level in 2006/07, when there were 38,170 ad­mis­sions.

The in­crease from 2006/07 will be partly due to im­prove­ments in the record­ing of se­condary di­ag­noses. This rep­re­sents 0.5% of all hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions, which is the same as 2015/16, but al­most dou­ble the rate in 2006/07, ac­cord­ing to the fig­ures from NHS Dig­i­tal.

For ad­mis­sions with a pri­mary di­ag­no­sis of drug-re­lated men­tal health and be­havioural disor­ders, there were 7,545 ad­mis­sions in 2016/17,12% lower than 2015/16 but 12% higher than 2006/07.

Karen Tyrell, a spokesper­son for drug, al­co­hol and men­tal health char­ity Ad­dac­tion, said: “Peo­ple with both men­tal health and sub­stance misuse is­sues can find it ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to ac­cess men­tal health ser­vices.

“All too fre­quently men­tal health ser­vices refuse treat­ment be­cause a per­son is not ab­sti­nent, or has not been ab­sti­nent for a suf­fi­cient length of time. This is de­spite gov­ern­ment guid­ance and best prac­tice. Get­ting peo­ple con­nected with com­mu­nity ser­vices at an ear­lier stage could pre­vent hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions.

“It’s pos­i­tive that the num­bers have come down over the past year, but we know that there is still a long way to go be­fore they could be said to be ac­cept­able.

“Harm re­duc­tion must be taken se­ri­ously and ser­vices such as nee­dle ex­changes must be ad­e­quately pro­vided across the coun­try.”

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