Drug deaths in Derbyshire up 12 per cent over three-year period

Derbyshire County Council insists it is committed to helping people with drug and alcohol problems.
Derbyshire County Council insists it is committed to helping people with drug and alcohol problems.

The number of people dying from drugs in Derbyshire has increased by 12 per cent in the last three years, statistics show.

According to latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, the number of drug-related deaths in the county has risen from 74 in 2011-2013 to 83 in 2014-16.

Last year, a total of 3,674 deaths in England and Wales were attributed to drugs - the highest since records began in 1993.

A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said: "Although the number of drug-related deaths has increased nationally, it's important to note that the East Midlands has the lowest increase.

"There are many complex reasons for the national increase, including an ageing population of drug users who are now suffering from health problems resulting from many years of drug use.

"In Derbyshire, the county council chairs a multi-agency group which reviews every drug-related death in the area with the aim of understanding the factors involved and to learn lessons which can improve our services.

"We also recently commissioned a new combined drug and alcohol recovery service for the county called the Derbyshire Recovery Partnership. The partnership includes a team which focuses on the physical health needs of its clients, including those older long-term drug users, identified as being at particular risk.

"It has a wide range of services to help people reduce the harm from their substance use, access treatment and move into recovery. It also offers advice and help for families and carers who are living with, or supporting, someone with a substance misuse issue."

Ed Morrow, drugs policy lead at the Royal Society for Public Health, said: "It should come as no surprise that drug deaths in England and Wales are continuing to rise.

"The UK Government stubbornly refuses to make meaningful moves towards a more progressive, public health-based approach to drug policy and local authority treatment budgets continue to be cut."

A Government spokesman said: "While drug misuse is lower than ten years ago, we are absolutely committed to reducing it and the harm it causes.

"That's why last month the Government released a comprehensive new drugs strategy, setting out a balanced approach which brings together police, health, community and global partners to tackle the illicit drug trade, protect the most vulnerable and help those with drug dependency to recover and turn their lives around."

'Innovative support in a seamless way'

The Derbyshire Recovery Partnership is made up of the following organisations:

► Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

► Derbyshire Alcohol Advice Service

► Phoenix Futures

► Intuitive Thinking Skills

It offers:

► a single point of entry for drug or alcohol support or treatment

► one-to-one and group-based treatment

► a nurse-led health improvement team

► a counselling service

► peer-led recovery group work

Dean Wallace, the county council's director for public health, said: "We are pleased to have commissioned the Derbyshire Recovery Partnership.

"This is a partnership of well-established charities and organisations that have a wealth of experience in providing support, training, education and treatment of alcohol and drugs related issues.

"Because the partnership provides a complete range of services it avoids people having to transfer between different organisations and potentially falling out of the system."

David Hurn, service manager for substance misuse services at the trust, added: "I'm very excited to be involved with this partnership, which will provide local people with innovative support in a seamless way.

"Together, we look forward to working with any Derbyshire residents who need our support to get their lives back on track."

People are able to refer themselves into the Derbyshire Recovery Partnership or be referred by a third party such as a GP.

Residents concerned about any drug or alcohol-related issue can call the Derbyshire Recovery Partnership for support on 0845 308 4010 or 01246 206514.

Alternatively, email info@derbyshirerecoverypartnership.co.uk or visit www.derbyshirerecoverypartnership.co.uk

Drug-related deaths in Derbyshire since 2001

2001-03: 42

2002-04: 39

2003-05: 40

2004-06: 53

2005-07: 60

2006-08: 59

2007-09: 60

2008-10: 57

2009-11: 69

2010-12: 70

2011-13: 74

2012-14: 75

2013-15: 84

2014-16: 83