Extra treatment funding promised to tackle rise in North Yorkshire drug deaths

Additional funding will be invested in treatment services for people struggling with addiction in North Yorkshire, following a recent rise in drug-related deaths.

The number of deaths increased from 73 in 2020 to 90 the following year, and many involved the use of multiple drugs, including illicit substances and prescription and over-the-counter medications.

The Government announced in December councils will be provided with £553m over three years, to help them create an extra 54,500 new high-quality drug and alcohol treatment places and reduce the number of drug-related deaths by 1,000.

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North Yorkshire County Council said it is expecting to receive at least £315,000 in the first year - the same amount it received in 2021/22 - but the grant will be “increased thereafter”.

The number of drug-related deaths in North Yorkshire and York increased from 73 in 2020 to 90 the following year,

It also expects to receive at least £62,487, which will be spent on providing support to people who require inpatient treatment.

In a report, the council said it will need to provide the Government with detailed plans to ensure the number of people receiving treatment increases and the number of drug and alcohol related deaths fall.

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It comes after an independent review, conducted by Dame Carol Black Review, found the Government needs to invest an extra £552m in drug treatment programmes in England over five years.

The two-part review states that funding for treatment has been cut by 17 per cent since 2014 and drug-related deaths in the UK are now “at the highest level since records began”.

“Drug misuse deaths in England in 2019 were the highest ever. This increase is largely due to a sharp rise in heroin deaths, which have doubled over this this time,” the review stated.

“Most drug deaths occur in people aged 40 to 50 and data is expected to show that drug poisonings and other drug-related deaths killed more people under 50 during 2020 than Covid-19.”

It added: “It is estimated that the costs associated with illicit drug use are over £19bn per year. Drug-related crime is the main driver of these costs, making up nearly half (£9.3bn).

“The harms from drug-related deaths and homicides make up the next largest cost. Expenditure on drug treatment and prevention is only a small proportion of the total costs.”

North Yorkshire County Council currently works with treatment specialists, such as the charity Humankind, to provide support to people struggling with addiction.

It plans to invest in and improve treatment services in the region will be discussed at a council meeting on Friday.