City’s drug-misuse death rate dropping

By Joe Sweeney | Wolverhampton | Health | Published:

Health bosses in Wolverhampton have revealed that the number of drug-related deaths in the city have reduced over the last four years – despite an overall rise in national figures.

Wolverhampton\'s substance misuse service Recovery Near You in Pitt Street. Photo: Google Street View

The city council’s cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, told members of the adults and safer city scrutiny panel this week this was encouraging but more could still be done.

“We’ve achieved a lot in the last year. However, ongoing reductions will have an impact on providing safer communities,” she said.

Outlining her priorities to the panel in a report, Councillor Jaspal added: “Overall drug-related deaths nationally are rising. Wolverhampton’s number and rate of deaths have reduced since a peak during 2014-16, where our drug death rate was higher than the West Midlands and England.

“Locally, both drug poisoning and drug misuse death rates are lower than both the West Midlands and England rates.

“During 2016-18 there were 42 people that died from drug poisoning and 31 from drug misuse. Wolverhampton has the eighth highest drug misuse death rate in the West Midlands.”

Figures also showed that during the last year, more people than ever gained employment during their treatment for substance misuse in Wolverhampton.

“I want to see drug-related deaths during 2020-21 reduced by 20 per cent,” said Councillor Jaspal.

“To achieve this, I would like to see the following: an increase in the number of people receiving treatment for Opiate Substitution Therapy (OST); increase in Naloxone provision to prevent deaths from opiate overdose; and introduction of a formal drug alert early warning system across Wolverhampton.


“Also, the introduction of a drug-related death panel, which requires coroner input; to be able to produce a demographic and socio-demographic breakdown of deaths in Wolverhampton; and to undertake segmentation analysis to identify those most at risk.

“This will include reviewing those who have been in treatment for more than six years to ensure that their care plan remains optimal,” she added.

Drug poisoning deaths include accidents, suicides and assaults involving drug poisoning, as well as deaths from drug abuse and drug dependence.

Drug misuse deaths include deaths where the underlying cause is drug abuse or drug dependence, deaths where the underlying cause is drug poisoning and where any of the substances controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 are involved.

Joe Sweeney

By Joe Sweeney

Local Democracy Reporter covering Wolverhampton.

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