Figures on people dying on drug treatment in Southampton


THE number of people who have died while undergoing drug treatment in Southampton has risen.

Figures from the Office for Improving Health and Disparities show 37 people died while undergoing drug treatment in Southampton between April 2018 and March 2021.

These are 33 deaths between April 2017 and March 2020.

But between April 2016 and March 2019, there were 34 deaths in the region.

Royston Smith, MP for Southampton Itchen, said: “Every death in these circumstances is a tragedy. The government is working hard to cut off the flow of drugs and help people rehabilitate. It’s not just the obvious challenges of drug addiction , but also occasional drug use. Drugs don’t come through Amazon and those who use drugs recreationally are part of the problem. ”

Across England, 6,940 people died while on drug treatment in 2018-21, compared to 6,164 and 5,889 in the previous two three-year periods.

Release, who includes drug law experts, said treatment-related deaths were of concern, but more details on the cause of death are needed.

Dr Laura Garius, head of policy for the charity, said: “We don’t know whether or not these deaths were substance-related, how these deaths vary by treatment setting and type of intervention, and we cannot disentangle the role that the coronavirus pandemic may have played.

“The lack of additional information creates fear and alarmism about the role of treatment in the death of clients, when in reality we know that drug-related death rates are higher in people who are not. in contact with drug treatment services. ”

She welcomed an increase in funding for drug treatment by the government’s new 10-year strategy, but added that certain types of treatment – including safe medical supplies for certain drugs – were not. included.

Figures show 3,726 people across England died while in contact with drug and alcohol services between April 2020 and March 2021 – 27% more than the year before.

Dr Emily Finch, Vice-President, Faculty of Addiction, Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “Each of these deaths is a tragedy and a stark reminder of just how destructive and damaging addiction can be.

“It is essential that anyone struggling with their alcohol or drug use seek help from local services.

“But years of underfunding and a workforce crisis mean that many services are ill-equipped to handle the number of people in need of help.”

The Department of Health and Social Affairs said its recently announced drug strategy will tackle the root causes of substance abuse, including £ 780million for treatment and recovery.

He said illegal drugs cost the taxpayer nearly £ 20 billion each year and that nearly half of all break-ins and thefts in England are committed by heroin and crack addicts.

The latest figures show that of the 314,000 opioid or crack users in England in 2016-17, 1,542 were in Southampton.

This equates to 8.8 per 10,000 people in the region, which is the national average of 8.9 per 10,000.

A DHSC spokesperson said: “Drug abuse can have a tragic impact on the health of individuals, their families and their livelihoods.

“Like other services, drug and alcohol treatment services have been affected by the pandemic, but most services have returned as close to the status quo as possible.”


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