Drugs: North East

Department of Health written question – answered on 12th September 2017.

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Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the latest statistical bulletin published by the Office for National Statistics on deaths related to drug poisoning, what steps he is taking to address the disproportionately high drug mortality rate in the North East.

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what plans his Department has for a specialist drug treatment and recovery pilot programme in the North East.

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to reduce the number of deaths from illegal drug use in the North East.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Local authorities are responsible for commissioning effective drug and alcohol prevention and treatment services based on an assessment of local need. Public Health England (PHE) supports local authorities to do this, by providing bespoke data, value for money tools, topical briefings, and advice on good practice to help local authorities meet the needs of their local population. In the North East, PHE work to help local areas prevent drug-related deaths includes:

- running forums and networks to facilitate regional groups of commissioners, providers and service users working together, sharing practice and disseminating new policy and guidance;

- offering bespoke support packages to local authorities where necessary; and

- promoting the use of naloxone and training people how to use it across the North East.

Nationally, PHE has issued advice on providing naloxone, published updated clinical guidelines for drug treatment and worked with a network of treatment providers to establish good practice guidance on managing drug-related death risk factors and to improve partnership between treatment providers and other healthcare services.

PHE has also established a new Public Health Outcomes Framework indicator on drug-related deaths to enable local areas benchmark their performance against others.

Ongoing national work by PHE to help prevent drug-related deaths includes:

- helping local authorities improve their drug-related death review process;

- helping local authorities increase the number of people with drug problems who are in drug treatment; and

- improving intelligence on the adverse health effects of drugs.

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