Reducing the supply and availability of drugs and promoting recovery from drug related harms are a national and local priority. The misuse of drugs causes physical, psychological and social harm to the individuals concerned, as well as giving rise to significant disruption and cost to families and communities.
The impact of drug misuse on the city of Brighton & Hove is well documented. The Brighton & Hove Drug Treatment Needs Assessment 2013-14 indicates that there were nearly 1,600 clients in drug treatment during 2012. A third of this client group have been in treatment for more than four years.
The drug using population are considerably more at risk from blood borne viruses. Data for 2011 indicates a local prevalence of hepatitis C of 66% for this population, compared with 43% for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Drug misuse can have a major impact on young people’s education, health, families and long-term life chances. In Brighton & Hove, 48% of clients are parents, but only 15% are actually living with a child.
There is often an impact on housing, and a significant proportion of people within the homelessness integrated support pathway have substance misuse issues.
In 2011 Brighton & Hove had the 7th highest rate of drug-related deaths in the country (National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths (np-SAD) data). There were 20 np-SAD drug-related deaths in residents aged 16 years & over, or 8.8 per 100,000 population. However this has fallen significantly from the earlier peak of 32.6 per 100,000 in the year 2000 (67 deaths).