Concern at drug rating

Coun Ivan Taylor
Coun Ivan Taylor
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BLACKPOOL has the third highest rate of drug deaths in the UK, according to a new report.

Findings by the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths has found 11.8 people per 100,000 in Blackpool and the Fylde had died of a drug related illness in 2010.

And a council health chief admits he is “seriously concerned” by the report.

Coun Ivan Taylor, who is chair of the health and wellbeing board, said: “We do know that this is one of our most serious problems and the whole health community are obviously seriously concerned about this issue.

“It’s a terrible waste of young life and it’s a difficult problem to deal with, but difficult or not we’re very conscious of the issues here.”

Coun Taylor believes people with already existing drug problems migrating to the resort pushes up Blackpool’s figures.

He said: “This very often comes over as a kind of excuse and it isn’t.

“It’s simply a fact of life that our younger population is quite mixed in where they come from.

“We have a community of people who come from other parts of the country bringing this problem with them.

“Our problems are exacerbated by the problems imported from elsewhere, Blackpool is a little bit of a honey pot as far as this is concerned.”

Across the country, only Brighton and Hove (14.8) and Manchester (13.4) had higher rates of drug deaths.

Overall, drug-related deaths in the UK fell by almost 14% to 1,883 in 2010 from 2,182 the previous year.

In England they fell to 1,358 from 1,524 in 2009, while in Scotland the number of deaths fell to 365 from 479, and in Wales they were down to 81 from 102.