Call for action over rise in Luton teen addicts

Increase in young people being hospitalised says new data

By Lynn Hughes
Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, 4:08 pm
Updated Friday, 25th March 2022, 11:02 am
Liberty House
Liberty House

There has been a worrying rise in the number of Luton teenagers and young adults from Luton being hospitalised due to substance misuse, new figures have shown.

The data, from Public Health England, shows that between 2018 and 2020, 95 of Luton's 15-24 year old’s were admitted into hospital because of drug abuse, the highest number of hospital admissions since records began.

The admissions include factors such as mental and behavioural disorders or poisoning from using opioids like heroin, or from drugs like cannabis, cocaine, hallucinogens like LSD (acid) or volatile solvents like laughing gas.

In the last decade, drug misuse hospital admissions for those aged 15-24 in Luton have risen by 131% from just 41 admissions between 2008-2010.

Detailed analysis of the data by drug addiction treatment experts at the UK Addiction Treatment Group - which runs a drug and alcohol rehab in Luton, Liberty House - shows that the number of hospital admissions for drug abuse in Luton have been gradually rising since 2009.

Nuno Albuquerque, Consultant Treatment Lead for the UK Addiction Treatment Group, said: “Unfortunately the trend in hospital admissions for drug abuse in young adults living in Luton has been steadily rising and rising over the last few years.

“This is a trend we’d prefer to see going in the opposite direction and begs the question as to what is being done locally to support this young, vulnerable generation with drug abuse? Clearly, not enough.”

“We’d like to flag these figures to budget decision makers at Luton Borough Council and to ask them to tell the local community exactly how they plan to flatten the curve of substance abuse in kids and young adults.

“There is a proven link between increased drug use in young people and a range of adverse experiences and behaviour, including truancy or exclusion from school, homelessness, time in care and serious or frequent offending. It is imperative that Luton Borough Council takes decisive, effective action now to ultimately prevent a longer-term, local drug crisis.”

The UK Addiction Treatment Group offers a free drug and alcohol awareness seminar to schools, colleges and universities across the country in order to educate to prevent drug addiction. They’ve also written a free guide to substance misuse in children and young adults, see here.

Luton Council has been approached for comment.