Drug misuse deaths less than half the national average in Sandwell
Published 8th August 2022
The latest data from the ONS has revealed that Sandwell has the lowest rate of drug related deaths in the West Midlands and less than half the rate of the England average.
Sandwell has a rate 2.3 deaths per 100,000 population while the rate in England is 5.1 deaths per 100,000.
Sandwell has invested an extra £400,000 in the last year to local drug services and has worked on a number of innovative projects. This includes enhanced outreach work and the expansion of distribution of naloxone, a life-saving medicine which is used to reverse the effects of an opiate overdose.
To deliver these services, Sandwell Council works in partnership with Cranstoun, a registered charity with more than 50 years of experience in helping and supporting vulnerable people and their families.
Dr Lisa McNally, Sandwell's Director of Public Health, said: "Last year, Sandwell Council provided additional funding to Cranstoun to develop a peer-to-peer naloxone scheme where people in recovery from substance misuse have been trained to distribute naloxone kits.
"Naloxone is a life-saving medicine that reverses an opioid overdose. We hope that the scheme will reach out to people who do not yet have a kit and who are not currently accessing support services.
Councillor Suzanne Hartwell, Cabinet Member for Adults, Social Care and Health, said: “Sandwell is an urban area facing real social and economic challenges. While the rate is low, every drug related death is a tragedy.
"But as in so many other areas of Public Health, we are punching above our weight and have one of the lowest drug related deaths rate in the country. We’ll keep pushing forward the work to prevent drug related harm and get people the support they need.”
Natasha Simpson, Borough Manager for Cranstoun in Sandwell, who run the Alcohol and Drug Service in the borough said: “It is always a sad day when these figures are released. Across England and Wales the figures represent thousands of families who have lost loved ones to drugs.
“Whilst Sandwell is in a better place than many other parts of the country, with a far below average rate of drug-related deaths, we are committed to reducing this further. We continually look at new ways to ensure that people who need access to drug treatment can access it, when they need it, as well as new treatment options.”
Over the coming months, Sandwell Council and Cranstoun will launch a Harm Reduction Vehicle which will make services even more accessible to the people who need them.
Cranstoun Sandwell provides free support to adults in Sandwell who would like to talk about alcohol or drugs.
The service can also provide free naloxone kits and training. Anyone can use naloxone to save a life in an emergency, they don’t need to be a medical professional.