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Nottingham has highest rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospital admissions in East Midlands

Nottingham has the highest rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospital admissions in the East Midlands, and people are suffering short-term and long-term health consequences from a variety of drink problems.

The most recent figures from Public Health England show there were 120 alcohol-related deaths in Nottingham and 2,075 hospital admissions for alcohol-specific conditions in 2020/21.

It says Nottingham has had “poor outcomes over a long period of time” for a range of alcohol indicators – although the admissions to hospitals rate is improving.

However, it is still above the England and East Midlands averages.

The statistics will be discussed next week by a Nottingham City Council health scrutiny committee.

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In a report ahead of the meting, public health experts say: “The local population is suffering from the harms caused by alcohol in both the short and long-term.

“High numbers of alcohol-related hospital admissions will also put pressure on NHS services, particularly A&E and ambulance services, as well as police resources required during the night-time economy.”

A new strategy is being drawn up in Nottingham to examine illicit drug and alcohol misuse across the city, and has already identified gaps in treatment.

Councillors, the police, and health bosses will meet at Loxley House on Wednesday, July 27, to discuss Nottingham’s position.

The report says it is too early to determine how the Covid pandemic has impacted on people’s drug and alcohol use.

The report states:  “The closure of the night-time economy locally and in the city centre will have had an impact on people’s drinking habits, potentially resulting in more people drinking from home.

”Closure of licensed premises may also have resulted in people drinking less as social situations decreased.”

Alcohol-specific admissions in Nottingham have reduced slightly over the last five years, with 2,075 admissions in 2020/21.

However, Nottingham has a rate of 795 alcohol-specific admissions per 100,000 people compared with a rate of 587 for the East Midlands and 510 nationally.

When it comes to drug misuse, cannabis is the most commonly-used drug in the city followed by cocaine.

In Nottingham, upon entering treatment, 94 per cent of young people cited their cannabis use as problematic.

The report also says an estimated 63 per cent of the people who use opiate and crack cocaine are aged 35-64.

The report says there is “a potential unmet need” in opiate and crack users aged under 35 years.

Of those aged 15-24 who use opiate and crack in Nottingham city, 93 per cent are not accessing structured treatment, the report states.

Reported drug use is highest among 16-19-years-old and 20-24 year-olds, but these age groups account for only eight per cent of people in structured treatment in Nottingham.

The report says there is a potential gap within service provision for this age group.

Substance use among Nottingham’s student population is not clear, the report says. But it estimates the number of students using substances is at 11,800,  meaning there needs to be a “focus on understanding the level of need among this population”.

Deaths related to drug use in the overall East Midlands region have reached a record high, with 321 in 2020. In contrast, Nottingham has seen a decrease from 40 in 2019 to 25 in 2020.

The report also recommends more work is undertaken to understand the reasons why people drop out of treatment.

Of the 926 adult Nottingham people who left treatment in 2020/21, 271 (29 per cent) were ‘drug free’ at the point of treatment completion, with a further 178 (19 per cent) completing treatment as an ‘occasional user’.

In the same time period, 201 people (22 per cent) dropped out or stopped engaging.

The number of young people aged 24 and under presenting for treatment over the last decade has been declining both in Nottingham and nationally.

There were 50 new presentations into treatment in 2020/21, when compared to 261 in 2009/10.

The Health and Wellbeing Board will meet on Wednesday, July 27, and will be asked to endorse the report and the recommendations for consideration by service commissioners.

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