Addiction in the UK – Statistics on Drug-Related Deaths
According to the latest data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), as of August 2021, the cities of Manchester (120), Liverpool (168), Sheffield (123), and Leeds (175), all have over a hundred deaths for the period between 2019 and 2020, which occurred because of drug misuse related conditions. Shockingly, Birmingham has registered 246 drug-misuse-related deaths in the same period. This is almost double what the other towns in the country have submitted.
Drug addiction is a devastating condition that affects multiple aspects of our everyday life. It can be deadly if not treated properly, but it also impacts people’s health, finances, relationships with family members, etc. The following are some statistics that show how prevalent this problem is in the United Kingdom:
- In 2015, there were more than 2 million “problematic users” who had experienced an episode of abuse or dependence on alcohol or illicit substances.
- In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, 3 out of every 5 adults, aged 16+, reported having used cannabis at least once in their lifetime.
- In England and Wales, 1 person dies due to an overdose every hour.
- On average, one person dies from drug poisoning each week.
- The number of fatal drug overdoses increased by 6% in 2017 compared to 2016.
How Does Crime Relate?
In relation, total recorded crime (excluding fraud) in the see areas is also the highest compared to the other local authorities in England and Wales. For example, the number of crimes in the same period for Birmingham is 143,380 while in Leeds it’s 95,688. Respectively, in Sheffield, it’s 52,151, and in Liverpool – 62,187. For Machester, due to new software being implemented in 2019, data was not available, so the ONS has no relevant information on the subject. The list of this inconvenient lack of information is due to Greater Manchester Police being unable to supply data for the period July 2019 to September 2021.
To compare, the same data for the whole county of Bedfordshire is 48,787, while for the county of Gloucestershire – 40,424. In the City of London, the registered crimes were just 4,075.
Is There Enough to Help These People?
Paul Spanjar, owner of the drug rehab centre – The Providence Projects, says that “Areas with the highest rates of addiction tend to be seaside towns and areas with higher levels of unemployment and lack of opportunities. The government over the last decade made significant cuts to addiction treatment services, which have only exasperated these issues.”
To support these claims, data confirms that the cities with the lowest job opportunities per capita in the United Kingdom are Birmingham with 67,055 and Manchester with 26,005. They are both at the top of drug-related death statistics in the country. Leeds, Liverpool, and Sheffield are also within the top 10 cities with the most benefit claimants in the country.
This is the data shown by the ONS’s claimant count for the Universal Credit and Jobseeker Allowance options within the UK.
Where to Find Help in the UK?
Addiction help in the UK is offered by two types of services – NHS-funded outpatient services and private inpatient rehabilitation services. The latter can be found at various centres across the UK. However, according to research published online in 2018, there are approximately 5,000 drug-treatment beds in England alone. Of those, about 3,500 are used for people who suffer from an opioid use disorder.
The NHS provides free drugs through their Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). It is accessible to anyone who needs it regardless of their age or income. To find out more information about MAT in your area, visit the NHS website.
What Can I Do if My Loved One Needs Help?
If you suspect your loved one may need help, it’s important to act quickly. According to the World Health Organisation, the first step should be to encourage them to seek professional help. This could mean asking friends and family members if they know someone who can provide assistance. A good way to start would be to ask your loved one what type of treatment they think will work best. You could also contact your local GP practice or hospital for advice.
If you do decide to take your loved one to a specialist facility, it might be worth checking whether they offer 24/7 care. Some facilities only open during certain hours, such as during evenings and weekends. Your loved one may feel more comfortable going somewhere where they won’t have to wait around all day.
Finally, if you want to be sure your loved one gets the right kind of help, make sure they keep up to date with any prescribed medication. This includes not taking any extra doses on their own but also making sure they don’t stop taking any medications altogether.