A record number of people died as  result of drugs, it has emerged.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures published last month show that there were 40 drug poisoning deaths in the borough, up from 38 in 2021. 

The figures cover drug abuse and dependence, fatal accidents, suicides and complications involving controlled and non-controlled drugs, prescription and over-the-counter medications. 

This comes as drug-related deaths in England and Wales hit 4907, the highest since records began in 1993. 

Kate Hall, Head of Operations for Addictions Services at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust said: "People living with addiction usually experience multiple challenges in their lives, and it is absolutely vital to look beyond the addiction, to see the person, and hear their story, so that we can fully understand their needs and work collaboratively to meet them. 

"As the lead provider of the Achieve Bolton partnership, we work hard with all our partners across the health, social and voluntary sectors to identify the people who are most at risk and make sure they have access to the right support and treatment. 

“The latest annual report on drug related deaths in Greater Manchester from Liverpool John Moores University found that many were not from overdose, but from long-term physical health conditions in an aging population. 

"We offer free flu vaccinations and testing for blood borne viruses to those in priority groups and encourage our service users to engage with their GPs and prioritise their own health and wellbeing." 

She added: "Our experience of supporting people, often with complex needs, means we can always find a solution to help minimise the harm caused by addiction. 

"If you or someone you know is struggling with drug or alcohol use, please do not hesitate to reach out for support. 

"You can contact Achieve Bolton by telephone on 01204 483090 or email at achieve.referrals@gmmh.nhs.uk, or you can find out more about the support we offer at www.gmmh.nhs.uk/achieve-bolton, or by contacting your GP.” 

The ONS figures also show the age standardised mortality rate – which accounts for age and population size – stood at 12.1 drug-related deaths per 100,000 people in Bolton between 2020 and 2022. 

This was above the overall rate for England, of 8.1 deaths per 100,000 people. 

Clare Taylor, Chief Operating Officer at health and social care provider Turning Point, said: "Drug related deaths are preventable, and the right treatment and support for anyone at risk, in any community, remains the key protective factor. 

"If the Government continues to invest in building up skills and capacity in the sector, we can turn the tide."