Shocking number of people hospitalised due to spice and cannabis in the North East last yearPosted by On


The number of people being hospitalised after smoking spice, weed and other cannabinoids has increased more than fivefold since the start of the decade.

The figures – released by NHS Digital – show that there were around 1,725 cannabis or spice related hospital admissions in North East CCGs in 2018/19.

Cases include people admitted with mental and behavioural disorders due to use of the drugs, as well as people suffering other adverse effects.

The NHS said that figures are rounded to the nearest five to “protect patient confidentiality”.

 

However, they show an increase in admissions compared to 2017/18 – when there were an estimated 1,485 cases – and mark the highest total since 2010-11 when 310 cases were recorded.

The figures also include secondary diagnoses – meaning cases when the drug wasn’t the main reason the patient was in the hospital, but still had an affect on their treatment.

Sunderland CCG saw the highest number of cases last year – 330 – followed by South Tees (300)

Peter Reynolds, president of CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform said: “The figures don’t differentiate between cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids – in other words, spice.

 

“As we all know the harms and incidents around spice are massive compared to cannabis.

“It’s actually dozens of highly dangerous toxic drugs which can cause severe health problems – which cannabis simply doesn’t.

“The only reason that spice has become popular is because when it was initially available it wasn’t illegal, and cannabis was.

“The root cause of all of this is the prohibition of cannabis. Our insane drugs policy that takes a substance 114 times less dangerous than alcohol, criminalises people who uses it, and funds a 6bn pound criminal market from which all sorts of other consequential much nastier harms flow.

 

“I’m not saying cannabis is harmless – certainly children shouldn’t be using it – however the difference between having three pints a night or a bit of cannabis is the difference between tiddlywinks and base jumping.”

Across England as a whole, people were admitted to hospital 33,364 times last year because of cannabinoids.

That’s up by 6% on the figure for 2017/18 – and is the highest figure recorded since at least 2007/08, when only 5,934 cases were recorded.

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The figure has increased every year since then.

The NHS said that apparent increases in activity may be due to improved recording of diagnosis or procedure information.

Hospital admissions due to Mental and behavioural disorders due to use of cannabinoids / cannabis derivatives

CCG 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
NHS DARLINGTON 83 111 53 58 68 87 79 105 140
NHS DURHAM DALES, EASINGTON AND SEDGEFIELD * * * * * 6 11 * 10
NHS NORTH DURHAM 26 41 74 79 87 108 131 155 205
NHS HARTLEPOOL AND STOCKTON-ON-TEES 44 38 48 53 61 88 135 170 170
NHS NORTHUMBERLAND 33 72 62 76 109 100 128 165 200
NHS SOUTH TEES 53 93 115 136 134 206 249 320 300
NHS SOUTH TYNESIDE 22 39 39 40 42 75 91 80 110
NHS SUNDERLAND 21 73 91 84 97 163 186 230 330
NHS NEWCASTLE GATESHEAD 176 164 225 230
NHS NORTH TYNESIDE 28 32 44 36 69 32 9 35 30

*= between one and seven



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