Search

Most Tower Hamlets opiate addicts do not receive potentially life-saving medication, charity figures suggest

PUBLISHED: 13:19 21 December 2017 | UPDATED: 12:54 02 January 2018

A seizure of heroin. Picture: PA

A seizure of heroin. Picture: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Only 2 per cent of Tower Hamlets’ opiate addicts were given potentially life saving medication over a five month period, according to a charity’s research.

Government advice is councils should be working to make the medication more widely available in an effort to reduce the number of deaths by overdose — but Tower Hamlets is failing to implement their strategy.

38 take home naloxone kits, which can significantly reduce the risk of death in the event of an overdose, were distributed to addicts between October and March.

Opiates include heroin and morphine.

“Naloxone can save the life of someone overdosing, is cheap, and has no potential for misuse,” said Zoe Carre, policy researcher for Release, the drugs charity behind the research.

1,900 people died of opiate overdoses in the UK in 2016, the most ever recorded. It is four times higher than the 1993 figure.

12 pc coverage of addicts is the national average for the 117 councils that submitted data to the charity.

Ms Carre added: “It is shocking only 38 take-home naloxone kits were given out between October 2016 and March 2017 and this was not monitored before.

“It is also concerning that loved ones of people at risk of overdosing from opiates were not given the life-saving medication.

“The local authority must do more to prevent opiate overdoses in the area, such as scaling up the provision of take-home naloxone and ensuring this can be accessed by anyone requesting it.”

However the council dispute the figures, arguing not all their data was recorded electronically because of a change in the way they record data.

“We provide advice and support for anyone concerned with their own drug and alcohol use or of someone they know,” said a council spokeswoman.

They bought 870 kits in 2016/17, she adds.

2014/15 estimates suggest there are 2,309 opiate addicts in the borough.

Local authority figures range from 1pc to 20pc, with 18 councils not distributing any kits.

“Heroin-related deaths can also be prevented by the provision of naloxone and all local areas should have appropriate naloxone provision in place,” according to the government’s The Drug Strategy 2017 report.

The law was changed in 2015 to allow drugs services commissioned by a council or the NHS to give out naloxone kits without the need for prescription.

Latest East London News Stories

58 minutes ago

Letters, contributions and comments sent in to the Advertiser this week.

Yesterday, 19:00

A memorial that took 10 years to get going as a commemoration to the 173 people killed in the 1943 Bethnal Green air-raid shelter disaster has finally won a national architects award.

Yesterday, 15:19

There is no service on the TfL Rail line between Liverpool Street and Ilford this afternoon.

Yesterday, 11:57

Wendy Holland is living on borrowed time after being diagnosed with the deadly mesothelioma “asbestos disease” caused by hugging her dad as a toddler when he came home every night from working in the docks in the 1960s.

Yesterday, 07:00

A rich source of radical photography and film-making showing East End community life and political struggles of the 1970s and 80s goes on public show for the first time today at Bethnal Green’s Four Corners studio.

Thu, 18:00

A big old building in Bethnal Green had been empty for donkeys’ years until Scott Franklin’s ‘property guardians’ filled the space to make it useful.

Thu, 18:00

Investigators probing corruption, fraud and bribery in the overturned 2014 Tower Hamlets council election that brought down Lutfur Rahman are gathering fresh evidence previously “overlooked by the police”, it has emerged this week.

Thu, 17:09

What a snip for Bethnal Green’s Joshua Galvin hairdressing academy whose staff have been awarded the prestigious Matrix Standard again.

Newsletter Sign Up

East London Advertiser twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now