THE number of drug-related hospital admissions has risen on Wearside, according to new figures.
Statistics from the NHS Information Centre show that Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust reported that in 2010-2011 there were 205 admissions in which there was a diagnosis of mental health and behavioural disorders linked with drugs.
The figure is up by a third from 149 in 2009-2010.
Over the same period, there was also an increase in the number of patients being treated for drug poisoning, up from 126 to 142.
Today, the trust said it was continuing to work hard to improve services.
A spokeswoman said: “The report outlines that the North East has the lowest number of hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of drug-related mental health and behavioural problems.
“From our local analysis we can see a slight, as yet unsustained, increase in admissions, but no increase in admissions due to poisoning by drugs as a whole.
“In the light of the report, we are currently investigating the figures and any potential contributing factors in relation to Sunderland.”
The latest statistics in the Drug Misuse survey show an overall rise in drug-related hospital admissions in the North East.
The region’s Strategic Health Authority recorded 2,863 admissions with a diagnosis of mental health and behavioural disorders linked with drugs in 2010-2011.
That is an increase on the 2,373 recorded in 2009-2010.
Over the same period, there was an increase in the number of patients being treated for drug poisoning, up from 1,051 to 1,154.
The figure ranks as the highest in the country, with 44 admissions for every 100,000 of its population.
London had the lowest rate, with 14 admissions for every 100,000 of its population.
Across the UK, admissions in which drug-related mental health and behavioural disorders were a primary or secondary diagnosis rose 15 per cent, from 44,585 in 2009- 2010, to 51,353 in 2010-2011.
Figures from this type of admission have continued to increase year on year and are now nearly twice as high as they were 10 years ago, when they stood at 25,683 in 2000-2001.
However, part of this increase may be attributable to changes in recording practice.
In addition, last year’s rise was the biggest annual increase for this type of admission in the past 10 years.
Admissions for drug poisoning were also up by eight per cent from last year.
There were 12,586 admissions in 2010-2011, increasing from 11,618 in 2009-2010 and 7,814 in 2000-2001.
The highest numbers of admissions were seen in the 16 to 24 age group – 3,202, in 2010-2011.
Tim Straughan, chief executive of the NHS Information Centre, said: “The report shows a sharp increase for drug-related admissions over the past year. However, the longer term trend is not so clear.”