More people died while getting help with drug addictions in Islington

The number of people who died while accessing addiction treatment in Islington has risen in last three years, new figures show.

By Sonja Tutty, Data Reporter

Drugs and drug-taking equipment.
Drugs and drug-taking equipment. Photo: RADAR

The number of people who died while accessing addiction treatment in Islington has risen, new figures show.

The Transform Drug Policy Foundation said that in order to save lives, more must be done to encourage drug users to enter and remain in treatment.

Department of Health and Social Care figures show there were 54 deaths among adults undergoing drug addiction treatment in Islington between April 2019 and March 2022.

This was up from 40 who died during the three years prior, from April 2016 to March 2019.

It was also up from 44 deaths recorded between 2018 and 2021.

Across England, 7,429 people died while in contact with treatment services in the three years to March 2022 – a 26% increase on the 5,889 deaths recorded in the previous three-year period.

Martin Powell, head of partnerships at the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, said the rise in deaths is likely due in part to Covid-19 preventing face to face treatment.

Mr Powell added: “But against a backdrop of record drug deaths, we should be very concerned that over a third of people are dropping out of treatment, and just 60% of people using heroin are in treatment at all.

“To save lives we must offer services that retain people in treatment, and appeal to those we aren’t reaching – including heroin prescribing clinics, overdose prevention centres and crack pipe distribution.”

He said the UK should follow Portugal’s drug policies by decriminalising drug use to reduce the stigma that deters many from seeking help.

The most recent estimates of opiate and crack cocaine use in local areas show there were thought to be 2,308 people using the drugs in Islington in 2016-17.

That was the equivalent of 13.1 users per 10,000 people in the area – well above the national rate of 8.9 per 10,000.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Drug and alcohol addiction can have a tragic impact on people’s health, families and lives.

“We are committed to tackling the root causes of substance misuse with our 10-year Drugs Strategy.”

They add the department has invested £95 million of new funding to rebuild drug and alcohol misuse treatment centres and services in England this year, and is also funding specialist alcohol care teams in hospitals with the highest need.

AdBlocker Message

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker.

About EC1 Echo

EC1 Echo is your free local independent community news website. We publish stories to the web across the week and offer a platform for local people to highlight what matters to them. EC1 Echo is a not-for-profit project in partnership with the Peel Institute. Please consider becoming a subscriber supporter from £3.00 per month.
We need your help

Submit your listing here