COUNTY NEWS: Sussex town records ‘third highest’ rate of heroin-related deaths

Hastings beach
Hastings beach

A Sussex town recorded the third-highest rate of deaths from the misuse of heroin/morphine between 2014 and 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The statistics – released on Wednesday (April 4) – showed 6.5 of every 100,000 deaths in Hastings between 2014 and 2016 were as a result of heroin or morphine misuse.

Only Blackpool (14 of every 100,000 deaths) and Burnley (7.6 of every 100,000 deaths) had a higher rate across England and Wales, according to the figures.

There were 14 authority districts in England and Wales which recorded a ‘high’ rate of deaths from drug misuse.

As well as Hastings, Blackpool and Burnley, the areas with a rate of 4.5 or more drug related deaths to every 100,000 deaths between 2014 and 2016 were Barrow-In-Furness, Blackburn with Darwen, Hyndburn, Scarborough, Swansea/Abertawe, Neath Port Talbot/Castle-nedd Port Talbot, Reading, Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Gosport and Thanet.

Six of the ten highest rates of heroin/morphine misuse deaths related to local authority districts that are popular coastal holiday resorts, the figures showed.

Public Health England has suggested a link between areas of higher deprivation and drugs misuse.

Their report, Preventing Drugs Misuse Deaths, said: “Social factors, including housing, employment and deprivation, are associated with substance misuse and these social factors moderate drug treatment outcomes.”

The figures also showed that, nationally, the rate of deaths from drug misuse had increased in the past 13 years.

In 2016, there were 3,744 drug poisoning deaths (involving both legal and illegal drugs) registered in 2016 in England and Wales. Of those deaths, 2,593 were from drug misuse, which represents 69 per cent of total deaths, according to ONS.

In 1993 the proportion was 38 per cent, ONS said.