Health chiefs battle alarming rise in drug hospital admissions

Wigan Infirmary

Health chiefs say they are working hard to tackle an alarming rise in drug-related admissions the borough’s hospitals.

The number of incidents has gone up by 25 per cent over the past four years, latest NHS figures reveal.

Prof Kate Ardern

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In Wigan, there were 281 drug-related hospital admissions per 100,000 people in the population, compared with 225 in the North West and 149 in the UK as a whole.

Prof Kate Ardern, director of public health at Wigan Council, has said that the authority will continue to look for new ways to help people battling drug addiction.

She said: “In Wigan Borough we have a very strong offer of support and high levels of engagement with drug users through the Wigan and Leigh Recovery Partnership, working with young people, adults and their families to provide information and treatment to anyone affected by drugs and alcohol.

“We are always looking for innovative ways in which we can address drug issues in the borough, for example through the drug early warning system.

“The Greater Manchester wide operation gives different organisations the chance to share information and details of incidents swtly to help draw up patterns of drug use in the local and surrounding areas.

“It also helps frontline services get the most up-to-date information. The work is a strong example of how the Deal for Health and Wellness is being put into action every day.”

A snapshot of the north west region in 2016/17 has shown that Blackpool has the biggest problem with drug-related misuse - with 472 cases per 100,000 of the population.

Liverpool and Manchester showed a stark difference in drug use, with 427 per 100,000 compared to 266 respectively.

As well as helping users to manage their condition, the Wigan Council works on harm prevention to reduce the risk to users of injectable substances and to members of the public.

Schemes such as the needle exchange programme have been set up to help reduce the transmission of blood-borne diseases and also help to ensure that used needles are returned and disposed of safely.

Prof Ardern added: ““We have a drug and alcohol site in both Wigan and Leigh who offer a Needle Exchange Service and we also work closely with 26 local pharmacies who offer the service free of charge, this service helps to safely disposal of dirty needles.

“All service users are encouraged to return sharp bins for a fresh one and information and advice is provided at the point of exchange. Wigan and Leigh Recovery Partnership also work with a range of other organisations to ensure sharps bins are available across the borough to ensure the safe disposal of used needles.

“From the 1st of April 2018 our new Communities in Charge of Alcohol integrated adult and young people service, will come into operation in the borough, this will build on our existing programmes and support, and provide new opportunities to address substance misuse within the wider family and to undertake new initiatives which includes work within school and colleges, and a stronger presence in local communities.”

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