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More people recovering from drug dependency in Sandwell

Published 25th October 2016

More and more people are recovering from drug dependency in Sandwell, latest figures show.

New figures also show the borough has the lowest drug death rate in the West Midlands. 

Public health chiefs at Sandwell Council have pledged to continue tackling drugs and providing support to help people turn around their lives.

The number of people successfully completing drug treatment has increased from 98 in 2014/15 to 154 in 2015/16. Drug treatment services in Sandwell are provided by Cranstoun IRiS – Integrated Recovery in Services.

Information recently released by the Office for National Statistics shows that nationally drug-related deaths have been increasing since 2012. However, drug-related death rates in Sandwell have remained stable. With two drug deaths per 100,000 residents, Sandwell has the lowest rate in the West Midlands and is nearly half that of the national average.

Drug treatment has many benefits, including reduced crime and improvements to health and well-being. In 2013, Public Health England estimated that in Sandwell drug treatment saved over £11 million in crime and health costs and that for every £1 spent on treatment £3.75 was gained in benefits.

Kate accessed IRiS drug service for support to stop using drugs. She said: “My recovery journey has been an exciting part of my life; I closed the chapter on drugs and began a new one.

“I have had a lot of inspiration from the people I have been surrounded by, giving me the hope and courage to live a clean life. I’ve had ups and downs but always stayed positive and asked for help when I’ve needed it. Keeping busy has been a huge part of recovery for me, having something planned for each day has helped. I have found myself and now have a purpose in life. 

“Going to prison opened my eyes, it gave me the drive and ambition to want to get better and live a positive healthy life. Having positive and ‘the can do it’ people around me has helped get me through this part of my life. I have now got a social network of people I can go to for that positive boost when I need it, either it being family, friends or IRiS.

“Becoming a peer mentor and volunteer has given me the opportunity to become part of a team and to help give something back. It has given me a sense of pride and achievement.”
Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for public health and protection Councillor Preet Gill said: “I am very pleased we are able to support people to turn around their lives. Kate’s story is truly inspirational and it shows what a big difference the right support can make.

“The increase in people recovering from drug dependency and our low rate of drug-related deaths are testament to the quality of services offered by IRiS, which the council commissions.

“We are committed to addressing ongoing concerns about drug use and providing effective treatment services because the health and well-being of all our residents is one of our top priorities.”

IRiS drug service offers a wide range of support and can help people with all kinds of drug use – from occasional cannabis use to heroin dependency.

If you would like to reduce or stop your drug use, need some advice around drugs or are interested in accessing overdose awareness training, please call Healthy Sandwell on 0800 011 4656.

If you have lost a loved one through drug use and would like support, go to the CRUSE website or call CRUSE on 0808 808 1677.