'Trainspotting generation' blamed as Blackpool remains the capital for heroin and morphine deaths - with almost twice as the next worst town

Trainspotting, starring Ewan McGregor, pictured above in the film,  followed a group of heroin addicts in a deprived area of Edinburgh
Trainspotting, starring Ewan McGregor, pictured above in the film, followed a group of heroin addicts in a deprived area of Edinburgh
0
Have your say

Blackpool continues to be the capital for heroin and morphine deaths, figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed.

There were 14 deaths per 100,000 people in the resort in 2016.

The national average was 1.7 in England and 2.3 in Wales, and the figure here was almost twice as high as the area with the next highest rate of heroin and morphine misuse deaths, Burnley, which had a rate of 7.6 per 100,000.

Blackpool has had the highest death rate since 2010/12.

The ONS said five of the 10 local authority areas with the highest rates are coastal holiday resorts, with some also recording high levels of deprivation, 'which could link to increased drug use'.

"Blackpool's fortunes have been in decline since traditional coastal holidays fell out of favour in the 1960s, with the advent of package holidays abroad," it said.

The town was ranked as the fourth most deprived area out of 326 districts and unitary authorities in England, while Public Health England suggested a link between poverty levels and drugs abuse.

Its 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.”

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs linked an increase in heroin misuse deaths to the 'deepening socio-economic deprivation since the financial crisis of 2008' in its publication Reducing Opioid-Related Deaths in the UK.

The other seaside locations to feature in the 10 areas with the highest rate of heroin or morphine misuse deaths are Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Hastings, Thanet and Swansea.

The remaining areas are Burnley, Reading, Hyndburn and Neath Port Talbot, which although coastal, is not a holiday resort.

Heroin and morphines are the drug used by the so-called 'Trainspotting generation'. Death rates from the misuse of opiates have steadily climbed between 1993 - when data was first collected - and 1996; since then they have plateaued at around 80% of all opiate deaths, through to 2016.

This 'Trainspotting generation', which became addicted to heroin in the 1980s and 1990s, has been cited as one of the reasons for the increase.

This may also explain why the highest rate of death from drugs misuse in 2016 was among the 40 to 49-year-olds, overtaking those aged 30 to 39 years.

More recently, Blackpool has seen a problem with former so-called 'legal high' Spice.

And police in the resort have been raiding homes and making arrests as part of a massive operation into suspected drugs gangs.