Blackpool has highest drug-related deaths in the UK

Blackpool Credit: PA

Blackpool has recorded the highest rate of drug-related deaths in England and Wales for the sixth consecutive year.

There were 79 registered drug poisoning deaths in the seaside town between 2014 and 2016 - roughly 20 deaths for every 100,000 people - according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The rate is almost five times the average figure for England (4.2).

Blackpool is also some way ahead of the areas with the second and third highest rates: Neath Port Talbot (11.6) and Burnley (11.3).

Of the 10 local authorities with the highest rates, nine are either near or on the coast.

The ONS figures also show that Blackpool has come top or second on the list for drug-related mortality every year since 2001.

The town has also recorded the largest increase in drug mortality rate over this period, with the rate almost doubling.

North-east England is the region with the highest rate of drug deaths, followed by the north-west and Wales. By contrast, mortality rates were lowest in the East Midlands, London and eastern England.

The East Midlands was the only region where the rate fell between 2013-15 and 2014-16, while the Isles of Scilly was the only local authority to not register a single death in 2014-16.

Even in regions where the overall picture is less severe, there are pockets with high mortality rates, such as Gosport in Hampshire (10.0), Torridge in Devon (9.9), and Hastings in East Sussex (9.8), which all feature in the 10 worst affected areas.

Hotspots in other regions include Islington in London, Scarborough in Yorkshire and the Humber, Stoke-on-Trent in the West Midlands, and Chesterfield in the East Midlands.

Here are the 10 local authorities with the highest mortality rate in 2014-16 from drug misuse:

  • 1. Blackpool: 20.1

  • 2. Neath Port Talbot: 11.6

  • 3. Burnley: 11.3

  • 4. Middlesbrough: 11.0

  • 5. Hartlepool: 10.1

  • 6. Gosport : 10.0

  • 7. Barrow-in-Furness: 9.9

  • 8. Torridge: 9.9

  • 9. Hastings: 9.8

  • 10. Swansea: 9.7