Drug-related mental health disorders rise by 80 pc in a decade with crisis set to worsen due to COVID-19


NEW data from the NHS has shown an 80 per cent increase in drug-related mental health and behavioural disorder admissions at Warrington & Halton Hospitals over the past decade, with experts warning the situation will undoubtedly worsen due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Annual admissions rose at Warrington & Halton Hospitals by 43 per cent in the 12 months up to March 31st last year at the start of the pandemic.
During the first three months of 2020 when the Covid-19 crisis began, NHS hospitals across the North West were buckling under the pressure of a rising number of admissions for drug-related mental and behavioural disorders. According to detailed analysis by the Runcorn based drug addiction specialists the UK Addiction Treatment Group (UKAT), between 1st April 2019 and 31st March 2020, NHS hospitals across the North West admitted 18,990 people, an increase of 4% on 2018/19 when there were 18,205 and a 10-year rise of 64% when they admitted just 11,601 people.
The number of admissions with a primary or secondary diagnosis of drug-related mental and behavioural disorders represents a rate of 268 per 100,000 North West population.
Drug treatment specialists UKAT (www.ukat.co.uk/drugs/v77/) warn that these figures are only set to worsen given the difficulties people faced during the pandemic;
“Unfortunately we expect these figures to rise again in the next annual report as the impact of the rest of 2020 and the multiple Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions are included in the analysis” says Nuno Albuquerque, Group Treatment Lead at UKAT.
He added: “What we’re already seeing is that more and more people across the North West are struggling with drugs, which is resulting in increasing pressure on our already stretched NHS as admissions for mental, behavioural, injuries and poisoning by drugs continue to flood in. But, imagine how much worse a person’s relationship with drugs may have become during the difficult year of 2020.
“Our North-West treatment Centre – Oasis Recovery in Runcorn – is operating at almost maximum capacity and admitting clients every day for drug-related disorders.
“All we can ask is that Councils across the North West, especially those where the data clearly shows a rise in hospital admissions, choose to invest in effective drug and alcohol treatment strategies this financial year in order to really support those in their communities who are clearly struggling.”
UKAT’s analysis shows that some local authority areas did in fact see a reduction in hospital admissions for drug-related mental and behavioural disorders last year, including Cheshire East, Cheshire West & Chester, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, St.Helens, Stockport and Trafford.
For 24/7 confidential support with drug-related mental and behavioural disorders, visit www.ukat.co.uk/drugs/v77/
A Warrington Borough Council spokesperson said: “We are now in receipt of the Public Health England data relating to these figures. We will be working over the next few weeks to fully understand the breakdown of this data, including gender, age profile and drug usage to help us fully consider the implications for our residents and put into place any actions that we may need to consider.
“We will continue to offer a robust drug and alcohol treatment service to support individuals who want some help with their addiction. The issue of drugs and mental health together affects people in different ways, but Change, Grow, Live (CGL) (known locally as Pathways to Recovery) is available to all residents in the town aged over 18, if they need support.”
More information
CGL can be contacted at: 14 Bold Street, Warrington, Cheshire WA1 1DL or on 01925 415176
For any young person there is a specific service based at Orford Youth Base, Capesthorne Road and they can be contacted on 01925 442440.


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Experienced journalist for more than 40 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with three in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Chair of Warrington Healthwatch Director Warrington Chamber of Commerce Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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