Tees

Middlesbrough's opioid crisis investigated

Tramadol capsules Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The review will examine dependency on prescription drugs as well as illegal ones

Opioid addiction in a Teesside town is to be investigated after a doubling in the number of drug deaths.

Drug-misuse fatalities in Middlesbrough rose from 23 between 2011-2013 to 48 between 2016-18, council figures show.

The local authority is to launch a review and will hear evidence from charities that work with drug users as well speak to families of addicts.

Earlier this year, elected mayor Andy Preston labelled drugs the "biggest single issue" facing the area.

The review by the authority's health scrutiny committee will look at both prescription medicine and illegal street drugs, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

It comes after the introduction of a scheme which sees 15 drug addicts self-administer medical-grade heroin under supervision.

That 12-month pilot project, called Heroin Assisted Treatment, aims to cut the number of drug deaths as well as the estimated £2m cost of looking after the town's most "drug-dependant offenders".

In August, Mr Preston warned drugs and addiction are "killing" Middlesbrough.

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