Blackpool Opioid Overdoses Lowest In Five Years

Mixed news as several toddlers were hospitalised after overdosing on opioids in Blackpool.

By Erin and Shannan, both 14, Blackpool · April 8, 2020

Pic: Shutterstock

Hospital admissions for opioid overdoses are at a five-year low in Blackpool, down from 362 in 2015 to 185 in 2019.

However, six children between the age of 0-4 were admitted to Blackpool hospitals over the same time period for opioid overdoses.

Alongside the six toddlers, a further 30 children aged 10-14 were admitted to hospital after a drug overdose.

Opioids are a group of drugs that include codeine, morphine, and heroin.

The total number of people admitted to the Victoria Hospital in Blackpool from opioid overdoses was over 1,300. However, in almost all age categories, there has been a decrease in admissions for this type of overdose. 

A spokesperson for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “Occasionally a young child may attend hospital due to an accidental overdose, in such an instance this would be managed both clinically and via the safeguarding route.”

The age group with the most overdoses were 45-49-year-olds with 172 cases over five years. 

The data was sourced by the media literacy charity The Student View. The International Journal of Drug Policy 2019 edition found a “significant association between increased opioid prescriptions and greater deprivation at a population level.”

Referring to the findings, Manchester University stated that: “GPs in NHS Blackpool CCG and NHS St Helens CCG prescribe the highest levels of opioids in England.”

Dr Arif Rajpura, Blackpool Council Director of Public Health, said: “Over the past five years the number of hospital admissions for drug overdose has fallen. Work continues especially in relation to safe storage of prescribed medication, to reduce the risk to young children. In addition through the HeadStart resilience revolution Blackpool aims to improve the wellbeing of our young people, improve mental health and particularly reduce levels of self-harm.

“Blackpool Council together with the CCG and other partners has been reviewing the evidence of the most effective ways of reducing harm from prescribed and illicit drugs and has been implementing change. This is an important issue and we are working hard with partners to help people.”

Why did students choose this topic?

Erin and Shannan, both 14, from Blackpool, said: “We chose this topic because it is important that the Blackpool public acknowledge and understand how many people are overdosing using opioid drugs, dealing and taking them in their town. They need to know what the risks in their local area are and understand the effect of them reporting any known drug dealers and drug addicts to their local police.”

How did the answers make our journalists feel?

“The answers we got back made us feel worried about the risks in our town and the local area. We were especially worried about the number of children aged between 0 and 4 and teenagers aged 10 to 14 who had overdosed on illegal opioids.”