“Opiates, new psychoactive substances and addiction to medicines are challenges which councils’ public health teams want to focus their recovery efforts on, during and beyond the pandemic."
Responding to latest statistics on the number of deaths related to drug poisoning in England and Wales in 2019, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
"Councils are committed to ensuring drug users get the right support and treatment.
“Opiates, new psychoactive substances and addiction to medicines are challenges which councils’ public health teams want to focus their recovery efforts on, during and beyond the pandemic.
“The biggest challenge we all face is an ageing cohort of drug users, who have not previously sought or had any treatment. As a result, they are prone to an accumulation of chronic physical and mental health conditions that make them more susceptible to dying through overdose.
“It is essential that we reach out and help those not already in drug treatment, including urgently making naloxone available to help save lives from opioid-related overdose.
“It is also vital the upcoming Spending Review sees significant and sustainable investment in public health, including a reversal of councils’ £700 million grant funding reductions since 2015, to keep providing the essential services which help people stay healthy and free of addiction.”
Notes to editors
Councils in England face a funding gap of more than £5 billion by 2024 to maintain services at current levels - this figure could double amid the huge economic and societal uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The LGA’s detailed submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review sets out how £10 billion is needed to not only plug this gap but meet growing demand pressures and improve services for communities.