Scar­boro’ named as heroin death hotspot

Town is worst in the county for deaths from the il­le­gal drug

The Scarborough News - - FEATURE SCARBOROUGH EVENTS - By Lind­say Pantry news­desk@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @TheS­car­boroNews

in­creased drug use, which was also high­lighted in a re­port by Pub­lic Health Eng­land last year, which said: “So­cial fac­tors, in­clud­ing housing, em­ploy­ment and de­pri­va­tion, are as­so­ci­ated with sub­stance mis­use and these so­cial fac­tors mod­er­ate drug treat­ment out­comes.”

Ex­perts also iden­ti­fied a “deep­en­ing of so­cio-eco­nomic de­pri­va­tion since the fi­nan­cial cri­sis of 2008” as a pos­si­ble fac­tor.

North York­shire’s di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Health, Dr Lin­coln Sargeant, said around 3,000 peo­ple ac­cess treat­ment across the county a year, with Scar­bor­ough see­ing the most cases.

He said that much of work aimed done by re­cov­ery ser­vice North York­shire Hori­zons at re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing drug users also ad­dressed causes re­lated to so­cial fac­tors. He added: “When some­body ac­cesses treat­ment we have a sys­tem that helps sup­port that per­son back into work and sort out their housing so the fac­tors that helped them to spi­ral into sub­stance mis­use are also tack­led.”

The ser­vice will shortly be­gin to pro­vide opi­oid users with Nalox­one, a med­i­ca­tion which can block the ef­fects of opi­oid, es­pe­cially in an over­dose sit­u­a­tion. Health ser­vices across the area also have an “early earn­ing alert pro­to­col” to warn drug users, if, for ex­am­ple, a con­tam­i­nated batch of drugs en­ters the mar­ket.

Dr Sargeant added: “All deaths are a tragedy for that per­son and their fam­ily. We are work­ing with Hori­zons to iden­tify the things that we can do to pre­vent drug use be­com­ing fa­tal.”

In­spec­tor Graeme Kyn­man of North York­shire Po­lice’s Scar­bor­ough Com­mand said: “Wher­ever pos­si­ble we will work with those in­di­vid­u­als that come to our no­tice to over­come their drug re­lated prob­lems and live healthy and crime-free lives. We will con­tinue to pro­vide ac­cess routes into treat­ment and other ef­fec­tive in­ter­ven­tions that will en­hance the in­di­vid­ual’s chances of reach­ing their full po­ten­tial.”

Black­pool had the high­est death rate across Eng­land and Wales, with 14 heroin and/or mor­phine mis­use deaths per 100,000 peo­ple in 2016, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

There were 3,744 drug poi­son­ing deaths, in­volv­ing both le­gal and il­le­gal drugs, reg­is­tered in 2016 in Eng­land and Wales.

This was up by 70, or two per cent, on 2015, and the high­est num­ber since com­pa­ra­ble data started in 1993. The ONS re­port re­ferred to the “Trainspot­ting Gen­er­a­tion”, who 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.

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