Pubdate: Sun, 29 Nov 2009
Source: Argus, The (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Newsquest Media Group
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Hundreds of people have been treated for drug-related  problems in
hospitals across Sussex.

Figures published by the NHS Information Centre show  128 people in
Brighton and Hove alone were admitted to  hospital with drug poisoning
in 2008-09 compared to 116  two years before.

A further 466 cases of drug-related mental health or  behavioural
disorders were recorded by hospital workers  during the same period, a
rise on the 369 in 2006-07.

The most common drug was cannabis but there were also  reports of
people affected by cocaine, ecstasy,  tranquillisers, anabolic
steroids and ketamine.

Earlier this year Brighton and Hove regained its  unwanted crown of
drugs death capital of the UK after  coroners recorded the death of 44
people in the city  during 2008.

Work being done to tackle drug problems in the city  includes
Operation Reduction, run by Sussex Police, the  Crime Reduction
Initiative charity and the city's drug  and alcohol action team. It
focuses on getting users  into treatment and dealers off the streets.

Graham Stevens, co-ordinator of the Brighton and Hove  drug and
alcohol action team, said: "The team takes  seriously the increase of
drug-related hospital  admissions. A range of measures has been
implemented to  reduce the harm caused by drugs."

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said drugs  misuse was a
national problem.

He added: "There is a whole range of reasons why the  figures may be
increasing, including contaminated drugs  as well as factors such as
worsening economic  conditions leading to rising numbers of users.

"A huge amount of work is going on across the city to  tackle drugs by
the council and its police, health and  voluntary sector partners.

"High quality treatment services and innovative  projects, a number of
which had received national  recognition, are working to reduce the
harm caused to  individuals, their families and communities.

"More resources would always be welcome to expand  services but that
has to be balanced by the resources  needs of other vital services."

Work includes specialist advice and training for  addicts getting
treatment, those in hostels and their  carers.

The city is experiencing a growing number of teenagers  using the
"legal high" mephedrone, also known as meow  or miaow.

There were 122 drug poisoning admissions and 327  drug-related
disorders reported in hospitals in West  Sussex compared to 84 and 367
two years earlier.

In East Sussex there were rises from 88 to 104 and 355  to 371
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D