A coordinated response to the high drug death rate in Brighton & Hove

AuthorAngeline Walker,Veronica Hamilton-Deeley,Hugh Williams,Graham Stevens,Andy Winter,Jennifer Bennett
Date01 September 2006
Publication Date01 September 2006
A coordinated response to the high drug death
rate in Brighton & Hove
Jennifer Bennett, Brighton & Hove City Teaching Primary Care
Graham Stevens, Brighton & Hove Drug and Alcohol Action Team
Angeline Walker, Brighton & Hove Drug and Alcohol Action Team
Hugh Williams, South Downs Health NHS Trust
Andy Winter, Brighton Housing Trust
Veronica Hamilton-Deeley, HM Coroner for the City of Brighton
& Hove
Abstract Concern about the increasing number of drug related deaths in
Brighton & Hove prompted a Conf‌idential Inquiry into 69 deaths. This led to
recommendations concerning better data collection, identifying vulnerable popu-
lations, improving responses to overdose, and modifying service organization.
Heroin-related deaths were halved between 2000 and 2003, but the rate for total
drug deaths remained the highest at 25.3 per 100,000 (2003) in participating
coroners’ jurisdictions. In a subsequent Capture Recapture study, the prevalence
of intravenous drug use in Brighton & Hove was estimated at 2 per cent of people
aged 15–44, higher than Liverpool or London. The proportion of opiate drug users
dying from opiate overdose was also highest in Brighton & Hove, at 2.1 per cent.
A network of interlocking services was established within strong multi-agency part-
nerships, supplemented by: increasing the numbers in treatment; fast tracking
hospital discharges and prison releases into treatment; new specialist posts in the
local prison, the accident and emergency department and police custody suite;
and participation by pharmacists and primary care services. This was underpinned
by good liaison with the coroner.
Probation Journal
The Journal of Community and Criminal Justice
Copyright © 2006 NAPO Vol 53(3): 265–277
DOI: 10.1177/0264550506066869
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