Eight people a day are being admitted to hospital in west London with mental health problems caused by drugs – with admissions rising by 50% in just four years.
Across the region there were 2,982 hospital admissions with a primary or secondary diagnosis of drug-related mental and behavioural disorders in 2016/17 – an average of 8.2 a day.
This was up by 18% from 2,533 in 2015/16, and was a 50% rise from 1,992 admissions recorded in 2013/14.
In Hammersmith and Fulham, there were 381 admissions, a rate of 211 per 100,000 people and 1.4 times the England rate of 149 per 100,000.
The borough has seen admissions rise by 15% in a year and by 34% since 2013/14, when there were 284 people admitted to hospital.
Hounslow has seen a 77% rise in admissions since 2013/14, up from 221 to 391, and Westminster had 452 admissions in 2016/17, a rate of 171 per 100,000 people.
In Ealing, there were 544 admissions in 2016/17, compared with 369 four years ago, and Hillingdon saw the admissions rise from 199 in 2013/13 to 265 last year.
Across England, there were 82,135 hospital admissions with a primary or secondary diagnosis of drug-related mental and behavioural disorders in 2016/17.
Drugs included cannabis, opioids and cocaine, as well as sedatives, sleeping tablets and anti-anxiety medication.
Danielle Hamm, associate director of policy and campaigns at Rethink Mental Illness, said: “Certain drugs have been known to prompt a mental illness – for example, strong cannabis known as 'skunk' has been linked to schizophrenia.
“We also know that using drugs when you have a mental health problem can complicate your recovery, and can increase the likelihood of self-harm and suicide.”
She said more research was needed into why people were being admitted to hospital, suggesting that factors such as more awareness of the problem and local closures of drug and alcohol units may impact on numbers.
Admission numbers are at a similar level to 2015/16, when there were 81,904 admissions, but more than double the level in 2006/07, when there were 38,170 admissions.
The increase from 2006/07 will be partly due to improvements in the recording of secondary diagnoses. This represents 0.5% of all hospital admissions, which is the same as 2015/16, but almost double the rate in 2006/07, according to the figures from NHS Digital.
For admissions with a primary diagnosis of drug-related mental health and behavioural disorders, there were 7,545 admissions in 2016/17,12% lower than 2015/16 but 12% higher than 2006/07.
Karen Tyrell, a spokesperson for drug, alcohol and mental health charity Addaction, said: “People with both mental health and substance misuse issues can find it extremely difficult to access mental health services.
'There is still a long way to go'
“All too frequently mental health services refuse treatment because a person is not abstinent, or has not been abstinent for a sufficient length of time.
“This is despite government guidance and best practice. Getting people connected with community services at an earlier stage could prevent hospital admissions.
“It’s positive that the numbers have come down over the past year, but we know that there is still a long way to go before they could be said to be acceptable.
"Harm reduction must be taken seriously and services such as needle exchanges must be adequately provided across the country.”
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