Thanet named as in country’s ten ‘hotspot’ areas for heroin deaths

Six of the ten heroin death hotspot areas are on the coast

Thanet is one of the ten districts in the UK with the highest rates of heroin and morphine deaths.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that the isle is the ninth highest in the country where heroin and/or morphine were mentioned on the death certificate between 2014-1016.

It is also one of six coastal areas in that list of ten.

The national average for heroin/morphine misuse deaths is 1.7 out of every 100,000 people in England and 2.3 in Wales. But for Thanet the figure stands at 5. The highest death rates are in Blackpool at 14 per 100,000.

Other coastal areas in the 10 areas with the highest rate of heroin or morphine misuse deaths are Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Hasting and Swansea.

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.”

Thanet has some of the most deprived wards in the country.

The isle has the highest rate of heroin deaths for Kent, with Medway coming in second at 3.9 deaths per 100,000 and the Swale at 3 deaths.

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% of total deaths. In 1993 the proportion was 38%.

In 2016, the number of drug-related deaths where heroin and/or morphine were mentioned on the death certificate had increased by almost eight times since 1993. There had been only a slight increase from 2015, where 1,201 deaths were registered, but there has been an increase of almost two-thirds since 2012, following a heroin drought, where drug purity declined but prices rose, in 2010 to 2011.

The ONS has attributed the climbing death rates to the so-called Trainspotting generation – those who started using the drug in the late 80s and 90s and have suffered decades of addiction and the associated health problems.

This has seen the highest rate of death from drugs misuse in 2016 among 40 to 49-year-olds, overtaking those aged 30 to 39 years.

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