Rising Drug Abuse and Alcohol Addiction in Lancashire’s cities of Blackpool, Preston and Blackburn
Based on recent figures from the Lancashire County Council website, the number of opiate and crack (a highly concentrated form of cocaine) users throughout parts of Lancashire are noticeably above the national average. Blackpool and Blackburn, along with Darwin show especially elevated numbers, with 20 users per 1000 people, and 14.5 users per 1000 people respectively. Meanwhile, England’s national average is estimated to be around 8.6 users.
The same report also claims that two-fifths of drug-related deaths in Lancashire have occurred in just five cities: Burnley, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle and Preston. These shocking statistics point out a serious drug abuse problem in the Lancashire region.
Both drug addiction and alcohol addiction in Lancashire are problems that affect many people throughout England and the U.K.. Battling addiction is not easy, neither for the person suffering through it nor for the people close to them. To avoid the negative consequences of addiction, it is crucial for people to be able to find help when they need it.
How is opiate or heroin addiction dangerous?
Opiate drugs, originally derived from opium, range from legal [often prescribed] painkillers to illegal forms such as heroin. Today’s opiate-based drugs can be naturally produced or synthetically made. All types of opiate drugs are addictive and can be dangerous if abused. No matter the form, all opiate drugs are designed to reduce pain, have a euphoric effect, and slow down the central nervous system.
People who have an addiction to opiates usually develop a tolerance to the drug, and need more of it over time to achieve the same effect. Opiate addiction also produces very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, making the cessation of the drug difficult. Thus, death by overdose is a common occurrence among opiate or heroin-addicted individuals.
Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs, producing a rush of euphoria, blocking the pain receptors and lowering a person’s inhibitions. Those addicted to heroin are also more at risk for getting HIV and other infectious diseases, due to the common practice of sharing needles between users.
Much like many street drugs, heroin may also be cut with toxic substances, which can cause additional damage to the body.
These, along with many other reasons, is why opiate abuse in the Lancashire region is so concerning.
How does one recover from opiate or heroin addiction?
Recovery starts with detoxification. However, withdrawal symptoms from heroin are rather uncomfortable, and can start within hours after the drug wears off. A heavy user in poor health can die if they go “cold turkey” and stop the drug suddenly. Experts at Castle Craig Hospital believe that heroin and opiate detox must be done carefully under proper medical supervision. The goal is to make it as quick and comfortable for the person as possible.
Detox from opiates, such as heroin, may involve a substitute medicine, such as methadone or buprenorphine. The detoxification process can last a week or more, typically, and is done by slowly decreasing the dose and making withdrawal more tolerable.
At Castle Craig, a private residential rehab, therapy is usually commenced during the detox period and continued for several weeks. Some people with more severe addictions may need longer than the standard four to six weeks, in which case, the individual may need to apply for the extended treatment programme.
Continuing care, or aftercare, is also crucial to ensure the ex-user stays abstinent and has a successful recovery. Castle Craig offers referrals to support groups and allows ex-patients to return at any time for additional assistance.
Where can I find help for drug, alcohol or other addictions in Lancashire?
The Lancashire region is home to several large cities, which is beneficial because cities are offer more resources for assisting people with drug and alcohol addiction. However, even smaller towns in Lancashire have access to help for addiction, which is promising for current and future generations of North Western England.
Blackpool, a coastal holiday town, has been labelled a major hotspot for opiate misuse by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It has also, unfortunately, been the location of the highest death rate due to opiate misuse during 2016.
If you’re seeking free and confidential help for yourself or a loved one regarding drugs, alcohol or sexual health, Horizon, a charity, is a good place to start. They offer assistance to adults 25 years of age and over and provide non-judgmental harm-reduction services such as needle exchanges.
Blackburn also has separate branches for young people and adults. Inspire and Go2 cater to adults and young adults, respectively. In addition, Re:fresh specialises in providing assistance to friends and family of individuals with addiction in the Blackburn and Darwin area.
Discover Drug and Alcohol Services, hosted by the NHS, provide a wide range of services for those battling drug or alcohol misuse and seeking recovery. They have several locations throughout central Lancashire, including one in Preston, Chorley and West Lancashire. In Preston, their branch is called St. Wilfrid’s.