Increase in patients with drug problems across the West Midlands

Hundreds of people across the West Midlands and Staffordshire are being admitted to hospital every year due to drug abuse, new NHS figures have revealed.

Increase in patients with drug problems across the West Midlands

The worrying statistics show that in some areas health workers are dealing with dozens of extra patients with drug problems compared to in the previous 12 months.

Sandwell had the highest number of cases in the Black Country last year with 107, rising from 80 and 83 in the two previous years.

Health chiefs said they were committed to tackling the issue.

Councillor Preet Gill, cabinet member for public health and protection, said: "Sandwell takes substance misuse very seriously and is committed to tackling both the causes and the consequences of drug misuse.

"It should be noted that not only does Sandwell have the lowest number of drug related deaths in the West Midlands, but also the number of drug related deaths in Sandwell is half the national average. This suggests that those with substance misuse issues are accessing appropriate services."

Wolverhampton represented the area of the West Midlands with the highest proportion of its population admitted to hospital with drug poisoning – 36 people per 100,000 population.

The number of cases in the city jumped from 58 in 2013/14 to 91 the year after and 92 in 2015/16.

A Wolverhampton council spokesman said: "We are committed to helping people in the city who are struggling with drug and alcohol problems.

"Support in Wolverhampton is primarily offered through the city's drug and alcohol misuse service, Recovery Near You, which provides free and confidential advice and treatment to adults and young people."

In Dudley and Sandwell the ratios were 33 admissions per 100,000 people.

In Dudley there were 100 admissions last year, increasing from 83 in 2014/15 and 2013/14. Walsall compares more favourably with a ratio of 24 admissions per 100,000 people. In the last three years cases rose from 50 in 2013/14 to 84 in 2014/15 but fell to 63 in 2015/16.

Councillor Ian Robertson, Portfolio Holder for Health in Walsall said: "Tackling the harms associated with drug and alcohol abuse is, and will remain to be, a priority for Walsall Council."

Staffordshire has the highest amount of people admitted to hospitals with a primary diagnosis of 'poisoning by illicit drugs'.

In 2015/16 there were 201 drug abuse cases, broadly the same number as the 208 patients in 2014/15 but a significant increase on the 172 people in 2013/14.

It comes as earlier this year Staffordshire County Council confirmed cuts of nearly £4 million to drug and alcohol support services.

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