Borough bucks trend for drug-linked hospital cases

Drug abuse could be falling in Wigan according to new NHS statistics
Drug abuse could be falling in Wigan according to new NHS statistics

The number of people being admitted to the borough’s hospitals due to drug misuse has fallen since 2014 - bucking a UK trend.

An NHS report into drug-related hospital admissions shows that the number of occurrences of “illicit drug poisoning” in Wigan and Leigh has dropped in the past three years despite a national increase over the last decade.

The reduction in the number of drug-related hospital admissions is welcome news

Prof Kate Ardern

But it still does have bigger problems than many parts of the country.

Those suffering from drug-related mental health or behavioural disorders has also dropped 14 per cent in 2015/2016 from 855 in 2014/15 to 739.

Prof Kate Ardern, director for public health at Wigan Council, said: “The reduction in the number of drug-related hospital admissions is welcome news and I’m pleased with our progress against national figures.

“The results reflect the work and strong partnership with multiple agencies in the community supporting individuals and families with drug issues.

“We will continue to work with our partners to ensure these figures continue moving in the right direction.”

The overall picture for the North West, however, is not as optimistic, with the region generating the most drug-related admissions across the country.

Despite the borough’s progress, data for the 2015/16 period shows that Wigan is still the ninth worst off in the North West for cases of “illicit drug poisoning” with 52 people admitted per 100,000 of the population.

Blackpool came out rock bottom with more than twice the amount of admissions as Wigan, with 116 people per 100,000.

Other areas including St Helens, Tameside, Wirral and Salford also generated more drug misuse admissions than this borough.

Areas with a much lower rate of cases were mainly the more affluent ones and included Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East, Trafford and Bury with 30 or less cases per 100,000 people.

Wigan borough residents suffering with drug and alcohol problems are being urged to seek help from the Wigan and Leigh Recovery Partnership on 01942 487578.

Teenagers under the age of 18 can contact the Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Service for support on 01942 865591.

The local authority also offers a service for those looking to cut their alcohol consumption.

The Healthy Routes service provides one-to-one support and can be contacted by calling 01942 489012 or texting HUB to 61825.