Drug-related deaths increase across South Tyneside and the North East
New figures reveal the number of drug-related deaths across South Tyneside has increased by nearly a fifth.
Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicates that the number of such deaths rose from 41 during 2014-16 to 48 during 2016-18.
Deaths from misuse of drugs across the borough increased by one from 28 to 29 over the same period.
The overall figure gave South Tyneside an average death rate of 11 people per 10,000 of the population.
This compares to a nationwide rate from 10,915 deaths of 6.7 people per 10,000 of the population.
The South Tyneside figure, however, is still below the average for the North-East – which was the highest nationwide – of 12.1 deaths per 10,000 of the population compared to 10.1 deaths during 2014-16.
Eytan Alexander, managing director of UK Addiction Treatment (UKAT), said: “These figures now show the impact this is having on the most vulnerable people living across the North East.
“It cannot be coincidence that as councils here slash drug and alcohol treatment budgets by £8million over 6 years, the highest number of people on record lose their lives to drugs. We urge councils across the North East to invest in effective drug and alcohol services next year to avoid more loss of life.”
Since the period covering the latest statistics, South Tyneside Council has overseen the launch last November of the South Tyneside Adult Recovery Service.
Based at Cookson House in River Drive, South Shields, the service aims to help adults recover from drug and alcohol misuse and is run by Humankind and Spectrum Community Health community group.
A spokesperson for South Tyneside Council said: “Any drug-related death in South Tyneside is a tragedy and reducing this figure is a priority for South Tyneside Council.
“The figures for South Tyneside are below those of neighbouring authorities and national trends but we will continue to make every effort to tackle drug misuse across the borough and reduce this figure still further.
“Our substance misuse service provider delivers a comprehensive integrated service which includes tailored support, structured treatment and harm reduction to those with substance misuse issues.
The recovery service can be contacted on (0191) 9171160.