Drug-related deaths in Hartlepool and County Durham rise year-on-year
New figures reveal that the number of drug-related deaths in Hartlepool and County Durham are on the up.
Latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that such deaths across the North East region have reached record levels.
The individual and regional figures are also well above the national average and have prompted calls for more public sector funding of drug treatment programmes.
In Hartlepool, the number of fatalities increased from 32, during the period from 2014 to 2016, to 40 between 2016-2018.
This is an increase of 12.5 deaths per 100,000 people to 15.4 deaths per 100,000 people.
County Durham witnessed a rise from 133 deaths (a rate of 9 deaths per 100,000 people) to 153 (a rate of 10.5 deaths per 100,000 people) in the same period.
The regional rate of 12.1 drug fatalities per 100,000 people (903 deaths) is also higher than the nationwide average of 6.7 deaths per 100,000 people (10,915 deaths).
Both regional and national figures, which cover the use of prescription and non-prescription drugs, are the highest since monitoring started more than 25 years ago.
Eytan Alexander, managing director of UK Addiction Treatment, said: “We’ve highlighted the drastic reduction in budget cuts to substance misuse services every year since 2013 and unfortunately these figures now show the impact this is having on the most vulnerable people living across the North East.
“It cannot be coincidence that as councils here slash drug and alcohol treatment budgets by £8 million over 6 years, the highest number of people on record lose their lives to drugs.”