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Huge rise in hospital admissions for illicit drug poisoning

Hospital admissions for poisoning by illicit drugs up by more than 50% in a decade

Ingrid Torjesen

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Hospital admissions for poisoning by illicit drugs have risen by 57% over the last decade, show figures released today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre in the report Statistics on Drug Misuse, England 2016.

In 2014-15 there were 14,280 hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of poisoning by illicit drugs in 2014/15, and 45% (6,490) of admissions were of patients aged between 16 and 34. The North West was the region with the highest rate of admissions with a primary diagnosis of poisoning by illicit drugs for both males and females – at 43 and 39 per 100,000 population respectively. London had the lowest rates at 14 for males and 11 for females.

Deaths related to misuse of illicit drugs in England and Wales are at their highest level since comparable records began in 1993. In 2014, there were 2,250 deaths related to the misuse of illicit drugs. This was an increase of 15% on 2013 (1,960) and 44% higher than in 2004 (1,570). Men accounted for 72% of these in 2014 deaths and women, 28%.

The report also shows that in 2014, there were 1,720 deaths due to accidental poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances.

Statistics on Drug Misuse, England 2016 also reveals that in 2014/15 there were 74,800 hospital admissions with a primary or secondary diagnosis of drug-related mental health and behavioural disorders. This is 9% more than in 2013/14, when there were 68,600 admissions. Liverpool was the local authority with the highest rate of these admissions, with 444 per 100,000 population. The lowest rate was Wokingham with 32 per 100,000 population.

In 2015/16, around 1 in 12 (8.4%) of adults aged 16 to 59 reported taking an illicit drug in the last year. This level of drug use was similar to the 2014/15 survey but is significantly lower than a decade ago (10.5% in 2005/06).

Responsible Statistician, Paul Niblett said: “Reporting changes in rates of drug-related hospital admissions and misuse of drugs in adults provides valuable information for primary and secondary healthcare services, policy makers and drug rehabilitation professionals.”

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