Drug-related hospital admissions have increased by over 20 per cent in the past decade, new data shows.
This figure includes treatment received by previous and current drug users who are in the process of recovering.
Some healthcare professionals have suggested that the increase in admissions has had an impact on hospital waiting times.
Emma Bowers, Advanced Nurse Practitioner at the Horton Hospital in Banbury, said: “We have seen a real increase in the number of people requiring medical care following substance abuse over the past few years.
“In the emergency department especially, paramedics have had to attend more scenes where people have overdosed and require serious treatment.
“In terms of the long-term help the NHS provides for people recovering, the impact of Covid-19 has meant that the wait to receive treatment is currently longer than it has ever been.”
Between April 2020 and March 2021, there were over 275,000 adults in contact with drug and alcohol services in the UK, which has seen a small increase compared to the previous year.
Just under half of all people, however, left their treatment plans early without completion.
Emma said: “The main reason people leave the treatment programmes is often simply because they do not want to recover at that particular time.
“It is a very difficult process and requires somebody to be in the correct mental state to be able to recover from addiction.”
The rate of drug-related hospital admissions are five times more likely in the most deprived areas of the UK, with over half of all people in treatment for crack and opiate use ranking in the 30 per cent most deprived areas of England.
Kingston upon Hull received the highest number of admissions, with nearly one in every 20 people seeking professional treatment.
Carlie Dunn, Project Manager of Hull-based drugs charity ReNew, said: “It is worrying that there are increasing levels of drug use within our community.
“It is our job to do what we can to support anyone who is or has been affected by alcohol or drugs during their lifetime.
“Whether that be prevention, recovery, family or parental support, it is important that people feel as though they can turn to us for help, without feeling judged.”