Shock figures reveal the number of hospital admissions for drug-related illnesses in Sheffield

There were over 3,000 admissions to hospitals in Sheffield for drug-related illnesses in just three years, shock new figures reveal.

Friday, 3rd March 2017, 5:07 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:59 am
There were over 3,000 hospital admissions in Sheffield over three years

Statistics show that from 2013, both hospital admissions for drug induced mental episodes and poisoning from illicit drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine has gone up.

Between 2013 and 2016, Sheffield hospitals received 2,801 admissions from mental and behavioural disorders from drug abuse.

Figures from 2014/2015 show there were 877 admissions but this increased to 940 in 2015/2016 - an eight per cent increase.

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Statistics also show that Northern General's A&E department saw 393 admissions for drug-related poisoning.

In 2013/2014, stats show there were 126 admissions which increased to 135 in 2015/2016 - a seven per cent rise.

Worryingly, figures from NHS Digital reveal drug admissions to hospital for people under the age of 16 reached a new high but there was no specific breakdown for Sheffield.

Charity chiefs also explained that people were ending up in hospitals for different drugs than they were 30 years ago and warned of a new breed of drugs, namely so-called 'legal highs' which have been recently outlawed and linked to severe psychotic episodes.

Greg Fell, director of public health in Sheffield, said: “There are services to help anyone affected by drugs in Sheffield. The council commissions free support and treatment, and also gives advice and support to people worried about others. There is no waiting list for treatment and people can either come to a drop-in session, refer themselves or go through their GPs.

“Prevention is also important and we work closely with schools to help educate young people about drugs and the risks they bring. Our drug services also provide overdose awareness and resuscitation training to people most at risk of a drug overdose. I’d urge anyone worried to get in touch.”

Karen Tyrell, executive director of external affairs at the charity Addaction who have a base in Sheffield, said: "Young people are much less likely to turn to heroin today than in the past. That should be a cause for celebration, and evidence of the hard-fought progress made through decades of education and early intervention programmes.

"However, we have an ageing population of entrenched heroin users in the UK who are dealing with a range of physical health conditions that leaves them increasingly vulnerable to harm and overdose, and a growing number of hospitalisations as a result of new psychoactive substances, and high-purity MDMA."

A Government spokeswoman said: "Even though drug use continues to fall, these statistics highlight the very real risks and dangers of taking drugs, which is why the Government will publish a comprehensive new Drugs Strategy covering education about risks, treatment and support for law enforcement in tackling the illicit trade."