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Drug Problem in the Northeast: A Comprehensive Look

Drug problem in the north east

The drug problem in the North East is serious. In 2022, there were about 4,907 drug poisoning deaths in England and Wales. This meant there were 84.4 deaths for every million people.

The North East saw the highest number of drug poisoning and misuse deaths in the UK. There were 133.9 drug poisoning deaths for every million. And for drug misuse deaths, it was 81.7 per million. This shows the urgent need to deal with the drug issue in this area.

Key Takeaways

  • The North East region has consistently recorded the highest rates of drug-poisoning and drug misuse deaths in England for the past decade.
  • Almost half of all drug poisoning deaths in 2022 involved opiates, with a total of 2,261 opiate-related deaths.
  • Males accounted for two-thirds of drug poisoning deaths in 2022, with a rate of 114.3 deaths per million compared to 55.8 deaths per million among females.
  • The government has set a goal to prevent around 1,000 drug-related deaths by the end of 2024 to 2025.
  • The average age at death for drug misuse was 44.5 years for males and 46.5 years for females in 2022.

Prevalence of Drug Addiction in the North East

The North East of England faces a big issue with drugs. It has led to many deaths between 2017 and 2019. The sad thing is, these deaths are double the national average.

Men made up most of these deaths. Places like Middlesbrough had high numbers of drug misuse deaths. Even in Newcastle, the problem is serious.

In 2017 to 2019, the number of drug deaths went up. The North East had the worst rates in England. And these numbers keep rising.

Not only illegal drugs but legal ones have also caused deaths. This issue is the worst in England and Wales. Those born in the 1970s are at the highest risk.

2020 made the drug problem even worse. Calls for more help and support are increasing. A united front is needed to fight this battle.

drug problem

“The drug crisis in the North East is not limited to illicit substances; legal drugs have also played a role in the region’s drug-related deaths.”

Impact of Drug Addiction on Individuals and Communities

Drug addiction greatly affects people and places in the North East of England. The number of deaths from drugs is going up. This shows deeper problems and where support isn’t reaching the most needy. Misusing drugs brings many problems. It causes both physical and mental health troubles. It can lead to being alone, not having money and families breaking up. This affects many people and places.

A big number of adults in England needed help with drugs or alcohol in 2021-2022. Over 100,000 went into treatment. Opiates, like heroin, were the biggest issue, affecting nearly half. Alcohol troubles grew, affecting nearly a third of adults. Crack, cocaine, and cannabis use is rising. This shows we must act fast to help.

When someone has a drug problem, it often hurts their whole community too. 

Dealing with drug addiction needs many types of help. We must look at the whole person – their body, mind and friends. This involves making safe choices easier, getting more treatment and working together. Police, doctors and local groups all need to join efforts.

drug addiction

“The consequences of drug addiction can be wide-ranging, including physical and mental health issues, social isolation, financial hardship and the breakdown of families and communities.”

Substance Prevalence
Alcohol 61.5%
Cigarettes 54.5%
Codeine-containing syrups Higher than cannabis
Tramadol Higher than cannabis

The numbers shout out for help to fight drug addiction in the North East. We need a great plan that deals with harm, treatment and local help. This approach can lessen drug problems and help people get better.

Contributing Factors to the Drug Problem in the North East

The drug problem is complex. It’s influenced by many things like poverty, health inequality and not having jobs. Adding to that are the easy to get and use illegal drugs. This mix affects different age groups too.

In the UK, the North East has the most drug-related deaths. And this number is going up. There are problems like drugs from other countries, the work of crime groups and how they use people who are easily taken advantage of.

  • The North East has experienced an increase in drug-related deaths, with the region recording the highest rates in the UK.
  • Overseas drug production, including opium in Afghanistan and cocaine in Colombia, has reached record levels, fueling the supply of illicit substances in the UK.
  • The use of crack cocaine is on the rise in England and Wales, often linked to the activities of urban street gangs and the exploitation of vulnerable individuals.

It’s important to tackle the root causes to fight the drug problem in the North East. Connecting drug help with health services and supporting families are big steps. They could help make things better.

“Factors contributing to the increase in drug-related deaths are complex and multiple.”

A big approach is needed to solve the drug problem in the North East. This needs the law, health care and help from communities. By working on reasons why addiction happens and how drugs come in, the area can become stronger and more healthy.

Drug problem in the north east

The North East of England is facing a big issue with drugs, leading to high numbers of drug-related deaths in the UK. Many factors play a role in this problem, like easy access to heroin, an older group of heroin users that need more care, and issues like poverty and unequal health services. These factors together make fighting drug misuse a major challenge.

This drug issue is not just a number; it touches the lives of many in the North East. For example, over 400 people have died due to cocaine use since 1994, with most deaths happening between 2013 and 2022. In 2022 alone, there were 66 deaths, a sharp rise from 2013.

The North East faces the highest rate of drug deaths in the UK. This has been true for the last two years. Between 2015 and 2017, 349 people lost their lives due to drugs, making the area’s drug misuse rate notably higher than elsewhere.

New synthetic drugs, like nitazenes, are adding to the crisis, causing at least 54 deaths in the UK in recent months. In response, 11 of these dangerous synthetics were banned in February, showing the government’s effort to fight this issue.

Solving the North East’s drug problem needs a joined-up approach. Efforts should include making drugs less harmful, offering treatment and working together across sectors. With everyone pulling in the same direction, we can hope to reduce the harm caused by drugs.

“Poverty and drug use are connected,” according to Jane Slater from the Transform Drug Policy Foundation.

Harm Reduction Strategies and Treatment Interventions

The North East of England has taken steps to beat drug problems. It uses strategies to reduce harm and ways to treat addicts. In Newcastle, a local plan was set up after a serious review. This plan hands out the drug naloxone to cut down on drug deaths. The region also made a detailed plan for helping people recover from drug use. These plans aim to make things safer, help early on, and support people, families and communities hit by drug use.

Naloxone Distribution and Overdose Prevention

Naloxone is a big part of the North East’s fight against drugs. It’s used to save people who’ve overdosed. In Newcastle, after a big look at what went wrong, they started handing out naloxone. Their goal was simple: prevent deaths. This scheme has been key in teaching ‘first responders’ and everyone else how to save lives.

Moreover, the North East works hard to stop overdoses. It teaches people, trains experts, and uses proven ways to lower overdose risks.

The North East set up solid plans for its work against drugs. These plans aim to look at the big picture, helping everyone get better. They hope to help individuals and places fight addiction and get back on their feet.

Harm Reduction Approach Description
Naloxone Distribution Providing naloxone, a medication used to reverse opioid overdose, to first responders, healthcare professionals, and the public to save lives.
Overdose Prevention Initiatives Implementing evidence-based strategies to educate the public, train healthcare providers, and reduce the risk of overdose.
Integrated, Recovery-Focused System Developing a comprehensive delivery plan and commissioning plan to provide a holistic approach to addressing the drug problem and supporting long-term recovery.

The North East is active in fighting drug problems and keeping people safe. It chooses methods that work, gets everyone involved, and builds ways for recovery. This shows how much the area cares about stopping the crisis.

Integrated Recovery-Focused System

The North East has seen the need for a recovery-focused system to deal with drug issues. It joins hands with local councils, health services, and the community. Together, they boost substance misuse help, join it better with other health services, and ensure everyone gets continuous care.

Collaborative Approach to Addiction Treatment

The North Tyneside Recovery Partnership (NTRP) helps those with drug or alcohol issues in North Tyneside of all ages. It’s led by Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust with Turning Point and Changing Lives. They provide a mix of aids like stop programs, medical help, talking therapies, safety plans and more.

It’s for anyone feeling they’ve lost control over their drug or drink use, seeing bad effects on self or family. And also, those required by the Criminal Justice System or other pros. They do detailed checks and then assign a specific team and key worker to help you through.

The program offers special drugs, detox, and strategies to cut down harms, along with lots of forms of help and advice plus friendships to guide you. They help with finding a place to live, work, or on-job training, and work to stop going back to old habits. They support with language needs and hearing issues too. You, or someone who has your agreement, can sign up.

Newcastle Council is working to make new plans for young and older people who need special treatment due to drugs or drink. They plan to group together expert help for everyone. They hope to share the full plan this June.

The aim is to craft a system that helps people get better for the long run. This method fits the recovery-based care model. It says every service should match the recovery path individuals need.

“The care principles are helping more people in a personal way, but some struggle with bad attitudes. These hold back their recovery.”

The North East’s system wants to beat these problems by working as a team in a kind and fair way. This work should make things better for everyone dealing with drugs, providing a lasting and good way to fight the issue.

Role of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice System

The North East faces a serious drug issue, with law enforcement and the justice system heavily involved. They work to stop illegal substances from reaching people and help those addicted. There’s a push for drug tests when someone is arrested and to help offenders early in their legal journey. It’s important for these groups to work together with addiction services to handle the complex drug problem.

The County Durham Drug Strategy 2014-2017 is a guide on how to fight the drug crisis. It aims to make people aware of drug dangers, reduce drug availability, and aid in recovery. This plan hooks on gathering facts and working with others to see how drugs affect health, crime, and reoffending. It also wants to make sure services are easy to reach for everyone, including pregnant women and those who’ve served in the military.

Handling drug problems by law enforcement is tricky and varied. The UK Drug Policy Commission (UKDPC) is looking into ways law enforcement can reduce harm. The idea is to make a positive impact on communities. Targeting harmful drug markets by the police can be effective, but it’s hard to know for sure. There’s also a need to think about the side effects these actions might cause.

“Law enforcement agencies are encouraged to consider unintended consequences of interventions and minimize them.”

The drug issue in the North East is ongoing, so law and order must adapt their approaches. Working together, using information to make choices, and focusing on lessening harm can lead to better outcomes.

Key Interventions Objectives Targets
Preventing Harm Increase awareness and understanding of drugs to reduce drug misuse across the population Deliver Prevention Champions Training to drug and alcohol staff
Restricting Supply Reduce the supply of drugs and drug-related incidents impacting families and communities Tackle the supply chain within the HMP System to implement the supply and demand strategy fully
Building Recovery in Communities Support people in successfully recovering from drug dependency and addressing their health and social needs Develop a communications plan for promoting the Community Drug Service (CDS) and recovery community in County Durham

The criminal justice and law enforcement are key in tackling the drug crisis in the North East. By focusing on harm reduction, working closely with treatment givers, and catching problems early, they help cut down on drug’s bad effects.

Rehabilitation and Reintegration Programs

The North East of the United Kingdom is focusing on help for people with drug addiction. They are starting long-term recovery programmes. These programmes offer therapy and aftercare to aid in recovery. They help people get back into society and stay away from drugs.

However, getting education and work after addiction is hard in this area. There are also not enough rehab programmes in the justice system. This leads to more problems for those trying to recover. The North East is looking at how Norway helps its prisoners to do better.

Norway’s way is to focus more on helping than punishing. Prisoners there get education and healthcare rights, like voting. This has helped fewer people go back to prison in Norway. For example, only 25% go back after five years. But, this way is more expensive, costing about £98,000 per person every year. In England and Wales, it’s about £40,000.

The North East wants to learn from Norway’s success. They are using the UNODC’s Handbook to plan better programmes. The Handbook has good advice on how to help people recover and not go back to crime. It helps in running these programmes well.

The North East is trying to help in a bigger way than before. They aim to tackle the real reasons why people turn to drugs. Their goal is to make a place where everyone supports each other. Their new ideas are helping more people leave drugs behind for good.

Country Recidivism Rate Average Annual Cost of a Prison Place
Norway 20% after 2 years, 25% after 5 years £98,000
United Kingdom Almost 50% after 1 year £40,000 (England and Wales), £59,000 (Category A)

In the North East, dealing with drugs remains a top issue. Good rehab programmes are very important. By using the best ideas from around the world, the North East hopes to stop the drug cycle. They aim to help people recover fully and fit back into society well.

Challenges and Future Directions

The North East of England faces a serious drug problem. It has the highest number of drug-related deaths in England. There were 163.4 deaths per million from drug poisoning and 104.1 deaths per million from drug misuse. In 2021, 4,859 drug poisoning deaths were registered, the highest ever.

To tackle this issue, we need to take many steps. We must better connect substance misuse services with other health groups. It’s important to provide special help for families dealing with substance use. Also, improving the paths through the criminal justice system is key. The new government strategy aims to stop around 1,000 deaths and help more people recover from substance use.

Looking ahead, the region must do more with data and share info better. It should also focus on training and growing the workforce. Plus, it must make sure its actions align with the country’s goals on drugs. Drug misuse costs nearly £20 billion each year. This is around £350 for every person in England. So, working together smartly and using facts is vital.

Key Challenges Future Strategies and Priorities
  • Lack of integration between substance misuse services and other health/social care providers
  • Insufficient support for families affected by parental substance use
  • Shortcomings in criminal justice pathways
  • High rates of drug-related deaths in the North East
  1. Strengthen data-sharing and intelligence-gathering
  2. Expand training and workforce development
  3. Align regional efforts with national drug policy priorities
  4. Invest in prevention, treatment, and recovery services

Working on these challenges can make the North East better. It will help lessen the harm of drug addiction on individuals and families. To do this, local authorities, healthcare providers, and law enforcement must join hands. This will bring real change and a stronger fight against drugs.

“Addressing the drug problem in the North East requires a sustained, collaborative, and evidence-based approach that recognises the complex and multifaceted nature of the challenge.”


The North East’s struggle with drugs is tough and keeps coming back, hurting people, their families, and their communities. Many women need help, although some find it hard to get treatment. Some even go to jail, where they still use drugs. Over a third of these women use needles to inject drugs.

This area has more people dying from drugs than any other in the country. It costs nearly £20 billion each year across England. Almost half of this money goes to fighting crimes related to drugs. The North East is fighting back hard, aiming to offer more help and stop so many deaths over three years.

We must keep on using what we know works to fight drugs, working together. This way, the North East can get to a better place. We hope for a future with less pain and more progress against the drug problem.

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