Concern over Hartlepool's fluctuating drug death statistics

A national drug addiction support service has expressed concerns about Hartlepool’s fluctuating levels of deaths in recent years.

Tuesday, 20th October 2020, 7:00 am

Latest data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows there were 16 deaths related to drug poisoning in the town in 2019.

That was up from 13 the previous year and around the same level as 2017 when the figure was 17.

Drug addiction treatment experts UKAT (UK Addiction Team) say every death is someone’s loved one and is urging councils across the North East to invest in drug and alcohol treatment services to avoid more loss of life.

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Hartlepool saw 16 drug poisoning deaths in 2019.

Hartlepool Borough Council recently launched a new integrated drug and alcohol treatment service as part of its commitment to bringing drug deaths down.

Between 2017-2019 Hartlepool had 46 drug deaths, an increase of about 50% from 31 in 2013-2015.

Nuno Albuquerque, Group Treatment Lead for UKAT said: "The situation in Hartlepool specifically is quite concerning, because the drug mortality death rate is fluctuating up and down over time.

"This suggests that an effective drug treatment strategy isn't being adhered to on a consistent basis. It could also suggest unreliable financial support being allocated to treating drug addiction in the area.

"We must remember that these aren't just numbers; they're someone's mother, father, child, neighbour or friend whose lives have been unnecessarily lost to drugs.

"It is a blow for the whole community and we hope that more can be done to avoid more drug deaths in the future."

Drug deaths across North East are now at their highest level since records began in 1993 of 975 between 2017-19.

Hartlepool council announced the launch of its new service with organisation Foundations in September to tackle dependency issues more effectively.

A council spokesperson said: “Known as START – Supporting Treatment and Recovery Together, the new service is a partnership between the Council and Foundations, a Teesside-based organisation with a wealth of experience of providing high-quality specialist clinical care services over many years.

“Harm reduction has been identified as a top priority for the new service, and, going forward, we look forward to working closely with Foundations staff to help local people in need of support reduce their levels of dependency.”

Anyone in need of help can contact START on (01429) 285000 or email [email protected]

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