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Shocking levels of drug use revealed in Brighton and Hove report
A shocking picture of alcohol and drug taking amongst Sussex children has been revealed in a new report.
In Brighton and Hove, 13% of children and young people reported using drugs.
The national average is 4%.
A total of 9% of the city’s young people smoke compared to a national average of 4%.
And there were 37 hospital admissions for 15-24 year olds due to substance misuse, at a rate of 85.6 per 100,000 of the population. The national average is 63.5 per 100,000 people.
Health and council bosses say they are taking the results extremely seriously.
About one in five of the county’s population is under the age of 20.
The figures also cover a wide range of subjects including MMR vaccination rates, smoking and obesity. The high number of children admitted to hospital in Brighton and Hove with drink problems has been concerning the city’s leaders for several years.
The results of the recent big alcohol debate in the city are still being digested as part of long-term plans to target its drinking culture among both adults and children and bring cases of alcohol-related disease and hospital admissions down.
The city’s top doctor, Tom Scanlon, has backed proposals for a minimum price on alcohol, saying it could help prevent drink from being so easily accessible.
The city also has poorer MMR take-up rates than East and West Sussex, an issue reflected in the high number of measles cases the city has been experiencing this year.
However, the figures show an average for East and West Sussex rather than looking at individual areas. Eastbourne and Hastings, for example, are known to have high drinking and smoking levels among its teenagers compared to more affluent areas, while more deprived wards in Worthing, Adur and Arun districts also have higher than average rates.
The information compiled is taken from a mixture of local public health, council reports and surveys along with national research.
A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: “Together with our NHS and police partners, we take this issue seriously and run projects which help to prevent harm and warn about health dangers through early intervention initiatives.
“We work with schools and early years providers through the healthy settings programme to promote whole school approaches to health and wellbeing.
“Schools are supported to understand the particular health needs of the children and young people in our city and to provide interventions which support young people to avoid and manage risk effectively.
“Together with our NHS partners, the council runs a groundbreaking agreement to provide follow-up treatment to young people who end up in A&E because of alcohol.
“Young people that have engaged with the service claim it has saved their lives."