Pubdate: Tue, 04 Nov 2008
Source: Argus, The (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Newsquest Media Group
Author: Andy Tate


The number of people admitted to hospital with drug poisoning in
Sussex has almost doubled in five years.

Records released by the Department of Health show 3,144 people were
admitted in 2006-07, up 93% on the 1,628  admitted in 2002-03.

The drugs involved ranged from illicit narcotics and hallucinogens to
antibiotics and other medicines.

The figures revealed a disturbing increase in the number of young
people treated for drug abuses.

Last year across Sussex, 519 youngsters aged up to 18 were admitted
to hospital with drug poisoning, up 28%  from the 404 in 2002-03.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals, which runs the Royal Sussex
County Hospital in Brighton and the  Princess Royal in Haywards Heath,
treated 141 young  people aged up to 18 last year, including 17
children  aged ten or under.

East Sussex Hospitals, which runs Eastbourne District General and the
Conquest in St Leonards, treated 182  young people -- including 33
children aged ten or  under.

The statistics were released by the Government in response to
parliamentary questions from the Liberal  Democrats, who said they
painted a "horrifying"  picture.

Health officials stressed the figures included adverse reactions to
prescribed medicines and incidents such as  children taking medicines
accidentally in the home as  well as overdoses, both intentional and
accidental. It  is not possible to tell how many were the result of 
illegal substance abuse.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said: "These are
horrifying statistics. The toll of damage  from drugs is immense and
the cost to the NHS enormous.

"Ministers must ensure that local services like hospitals, schools,
councils and the police work  together to ensure the lives of children
are not  destroyed by drugs."

A Department of Health spokesman said: "The Government takes the
issue of drug misuse very seriously.

Huge improvements have already been delivered but we are committed to
doing all we can to further reduce the  number of deaths associated
with drug use."
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin