Man who battled addiction thanks Runcorn rehab centre as drug-related deaths hit record high

Video report by Granada Reports journalist Zoe Muldoon

An alcohol and drug rehab centre in Runcorn says the government is 'nowhere near on track' to preventing 1,000 drug deaths by the end of this year.

Record-breaking figures show that in 2022, there were 905 deaths related to drug poisoning in the North West, which is equivalent to three deaths every day.

The government's 10-year drugs plan for England promises to prevent 1,000 deaths by the end of 2024.

But staff at Oasis Recovery believe that is 'wholly unachievable', because of a lack of funding for treatment.

David spent six months at the residential rehab facility in Runcorn. Credit: ITV News

David McCormack managed to get funding for six months of treatment for his addiction to drugs at Oasis Recovery centre, and next month, he'll be five years clean.

David said: "The Oasis Centre saved my life.

"I wouldn't be here. I would have been dead. That's where my life was going. I was using drugs with the hope of dying."

The UK Addiction Treatment Group's (UKAT) says analysis of recent figures from the Office for National Statistics shows that the vast majority of all drug-related deaths involved an opiate (401 deaths) but the biggest annual rise comes with cannabis, tramadol and fentanyl related deaths.

Faith Noone from Oasis Recovery Runcorn says the government's drug death prevention target is 'unachievable'. Credit: ITV News

Faith Noone, Centre Manager at Oasis said: "This is a life and death situation.

"I think local authorities need to prioritise the budget for residential rehab facilities. It's a false economy to do community detoxes.

"Addiction is a progressive disease that is never going to go away. There is always going to be addiction but we can minimise the deaths significantly if they do what they say they are going to do and provide the actual budgeting."

David has finished his second university degree.

David added: "If you put another ten people and gave them the funding that I got five years down the line they could be sharing their story.

"If I was still in addiction and I was still alive the chances are that I wouldn't have seen my little girl, she would be without a dad and the family would be nowhere."

David is proof that recovery is possible, he has just completed his second university degree.

But without the funding for his treatment at Oasis, his story may not have been so hopeful.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said:

"We’ve invested £532 million in drug and alcohol treatment and recovery, targeted at local authority services.

"This includes £121 million in the North West supporting over 54,660 adults through treatment services over 12 months.

"We’re also improving drug treatment services around the country, including expanding access to naloxone, a lifesaving medicine that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose and remains effective with synthetic opioids."

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