Plea for people to reach out as North West addiction rates 'higher than ever'

Report by ITV Granada Reports Correspondent Elaine Willcox

The number of people with seeking help for addiction in the North West is "higher than ever", according to a rehab facility in Cheshire.Data shows that in 2021, Oasis Recovery Runcorn, run by the UK Addiction Treatment Group (UKAT), admitted the highest number of people since 2015.

According to figures, 451 people sought support in its residential rehabilitation facility - quadruple the amount seen six years ago.

They say those presenting do not just struggle with addictions to drugs and drink, but also with behavioral disorders like gaming, gambling and sex addiction.

The rehab facility has seen a range of different addiction types including drug, alcohol and gaming. Credit: PA

Consultant for Oasis Recovery, Nuno Albuquerque, says the pandemic worsened the situation across the region, and "more people than ever are asking for help."

Mr Albuquerque said: "We said all throughout 2020 that although the pandemic was frightening and uncertain, one thing remained unchanged; that addiction would not stop, and that if those who were struggling then didn't get access to the help they needed, their situation would ultimately worsen."We're seeing off the chart calls for help from people whose lives have been turned upside down by addiction, which is why we're admitting more people than ever before."

Granada Reports spoke to Nuno Albuquerque, an addiction councillor at Oasis Recovery Runcorn, and asked him what the current situation is like.

Since 2016, alcohol-related mortality rates across the North West have risen from 3,009 in 2016 to 3,247 in 2020 - an 8% hike, according to UKAT.Meanwhile, drug-related deaths in the region rose by 32%, from 587 in 2016 to 771 in 2020.

"More people than ever lost their lives to drugs and alcohol in 2020, but thankfully, we're seeing more people than ever now asking for help", said Nuno Albuquerque."If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, we are here. Get in touch."A free 24/7 confidential live chat service for help and support with addiction is available on the Oasis Recovery website.