Drug and alcohol misuse are complicated, cross-cutting issues that continue to present significant challenges both locally and nationally. Drug-related harm varies according to the different types of drugs being used and also the way a drug is used, particularly if it is used in combination with other substances. Drugs have a profound and negative effect on communities, families, individuals and society as a whole. 

Key findings - adults

  • The latest estimates (2016/17) indicate that there are 9.1 opiate and/or crack cocaine users (per 1,000 of the population aged 15-64) in the Lancashire-12 area, in line with the England estimate (8.9). Blackburn with Darwen (18.8) and Blackpool (23.5) both have significantly higher estimated rates of opiate and/or crack cocaine users. 
  • Figures for 2017 show in Lancashire-12, 7.7% of opiate users (18+ years) successfully completed drug treatment and did not re-present to treatment within six months, significantly better than England (6.5%). Blackburn with Darwen (10.2%) is also significantly better than England, while Blackpool (4.6%) is significantly worse.
  • For non-opiate drug users, Lancashire-12 (52.9%) has significantly more people completing drug treatment and not re-presenting within six months, compared to England (36.9%). Blackburn with Darwen (60.5%) is also significantly better than England, while Blackpool (31.7%) is similar. 
  • Deaths from drug misuse in Lancashire-12 (5.7 per 100,000 all ages) is significantly worse when compared to England (4.7). Blackpool (18.9) and Blackburn with Darwen (9.3) are also significantly higher (2017-19). Blackpool has the worst rate of deaths from drug misuse in the country.
  • For the three-year period 2016/17-2018/19, the Lancashire-12 area recorded 430 hospital admissions due to substance misuse among persons aged 15-24, giving a directly standardised rate per 100,000 of 97.7, significantly above the England average of 83.1. Blackpool (236.6) and Blackburn with Darwen (119.4) also recorded rates that were significantly above England's. Blackpool has the worst rate in the country. 

Key findings - young people

Illicit drug use by young people continues to be one of the most significant public health challenges in England and many young people receiving specialist interventions for substance misuse have a range of vulnerabilities. These include young people not in education, employment or training (NEET), those in contact with the youth justice system, and those who experience domestic abuse and sexual exploitation. Alcohol and drug use amongst young persons is also associated with early sexual initiation and other risky sexual behaviours.

  • 1.1% of those aged 15 in Lancashire-12 stated they had taken drugs (excluding cannabis) in the last month (2014/15). For Blackburn with Darwen this figure was also 1.1%, while in Blackpool the figure was 1.5%. All three authorities are similar to England (0.9%).
  • The National Drug Treatment Monitoring System monthly data indicate that in the period from April 2020 to November 2020 in Lancashire-12 there were 434 young people (under-18) in treatment for substance misuse (includes alcohol). For Blackburn with Darwen there were 113, and in Blackpool the figure was 101.

For county and unitary data and further information please see below.

Further analysis and data

Final health behaviours report (PDF 1.9 MB) 

Health behaviours lifestyle questionnaire (XLSX 248 KB)

The health behaviours substance misuse secondary data analysis (PDF 686 KB)

Page updated January 2021