The number of people in Mansfield and Ashfield who died as a result of drug use has more than doubled in the last five years, new figures have revealed.
Data obtained by addiction support firm UK Addiction Treatment (UKAT) showed that the number of people in Ashfield who died from substance misuse increased from five between 2011-13 to 19 in 2016-18 - a rise of 280 per cent.
Of these 19, 31 people who died were males and four were female.
While in Mansfield, the amount of people who died from drug-related deaths rose from 21 to 35 in the same five-year period - an increase of 66 per cent.
And across Nottinghamshire on a whole the figures are alarming, with 141 people dying as a result of drug-related incidents in 2016-18 compared to 86 people five years ago.
Eytan Alexander, managing director of UKAT, has hit out at the figures and called for more action from Nottinghamshire County Council and other authorities to support people who are suffering with drug addiction.
He said: “Today’s ONS figures are saddening but unsurprising.
“We’ve highlighted the drastic reduction in budget cuts to substance misuse services every year since 2013 and unfortunately, these figures now show the impact this is having on the most vulnerable people living across the East Midlands.
“It cannot be coincidence that as councils here slash drug and alcohol treatment budgets by £3 million over 6 years, the highest number of people on record lose their lives to drugs.
“We urge councils across the East Midlands to invest in effective drug and alcohol services next year to avoid more loss of life.”
Tristan Snowdon-Poole, Public Health Manager at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “The increase in drug-related deaths in Nottinghamshire is similar to the national picture, although the increase locally is actually lower than the national average. Since 2001, our rates for drug-related deaths have been lower than the England average.
“The vast majority of these deaths are not related to overdose, but are instead people who have been taking opiates for many years who are dying from chronic long term physical health conditions due to their supressed immune and respiratory systems.
“We have been working with our partners and our substance misuse provider CGL to identify those people at risk and ensure they receive good primary care and drugs treatment.
“CGL delivery harm reduction interventions to substance misusers. An example of this is Naloxone which is issued to families, friends and other agencies who come into contact with substance misusers. This has saved lives in Nottinghamshire because it enables anyone to administer it and reverse the effects of drug overdose.”