Rise in Wigan hospital drug admissions
An increasing number of young people in Wigan are being admitted to hospital due to drug use, worrying new figures reveal.
The borough’s hospitals treated 170 people aged 15 to 24 for substance misuse between 2016-17 and 2018-19, according to latest data from Public Health England (PHE).
This was a nine per cent rise from the 156 youngsters seen from 2008-09 to 2010-11.
While the increase was smaller than in other parts of the North West, the actual number of young people admitted in Wigan was among the highest in both periods.
NHS hospitals across the North West dealt with almost 3,000 admission episodes of teenagers and young adults between 2016-2018 - hundreds more than they faced previously.
Analysis of the statistics by drug addiction treatment experts UKAT reveals the number of hospital admissions across the North West rose from 2,551 in 2008-11 to 2,880 in 2016-19: a 15 per cent hike.
PHE states these figures represent hospital admissions where the primary diagnosis could be mental and behavioural disorders due to opioids (like heroin), cannabinoids (like THC), sedatives (like alcohol and Xanax), cocaine, hallucinogens (like LSD and ketamine) or psychoactive substances like spice.
UKAT group treatment lead Nuno Albuquerque said: “These figures are extremely concerning, especially because they won’t paint the whole picture.
“There’ll be countless more children and young adults living across the North West misusing drugs without the need for hospitalisation; this report shows the worst outcomes of when kids ‘experiment’ with drugs.
“Given the current coronavirus crisis, society should be doing everything it can to ease the pressure on the NHS at this incredibly difficult time, and that means investing in preventative steps to reduce the number of kids needing hospitalising because of drugs in the future.”
A Wigan Council spokesman said: “In Wigan borough we have a very strong offer of support through We Are With You (formerly Addaction) working with young people, adults and their families to provide information and treatment to anyone affected by drugs and alcohol.
“The integrated drug and alcohol service, which started in 2018, has invested in approaches to reduce harm caused to young people and families.
“We’ve had a longstanding commitment to funding and delivering effective young people’s services in the community.
“Working in partnership with other agencies, we have developed and implemented a series of measures which include delivering drug and alcohol education and awareness sessions in schools and colleges as well as providing outreach at evenings and weekends to engage with young people.
“We Are With You also offer a Hidden Harm service which supports children and young people who may be affected by a family member’s drug and/or alcohol use.
“There is a role for everyone to play and we all must remain vigilant if we are to provide our young people with a future free from the potential for harm that drug and alcohol abuse can clearly cause.”
Anybody, whether an adult or young person, can get support from We Are With You by contacting 01942 487578 or via webchat at wearewithyou.org.uk/services/wigan-leigh-wigan/