Public Health England has released a report on the estimated number of crack cocaine and opiate users across each region of England, aged between 15 and 64.
The report reveals that more than 35,000 people estimated to be using both crack cocaine and opiates, like heroin and opiate-based prescription drugs, live across the West Midlands – a figure that has risen by more than 2,000 in four years.
Concerned addiction treatment experts at UK Addiction Treatment Centres(UKAT), which runs detox and rehab beds across the UK, says these figures worryingly do not even include anyone using cocaine in powder form, amphetamines, ecstasy or cannabis.
The data is based on users identified across the West Midlands between March 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017.
Public Health England also estimated there were more than 10,500 crack cocaine and opiate users in Birmingham; 3,855 in Staffordshire; 2,400 in Sandwell; 2,233 in Wolverhampton; 2,061 in Dudley and 1,915 in Walsall.
UKAT’s CEO and former addict Eytan Alexander said the number of people living across the West Midlands aged only 15-24 and using opiates and/or crack cocaine currently stands at more than 3,000 which he says is of particular concern.
Mr Alexander said: "Public Health England’s data clearly shows that an alarming number of teenagers and young adults are addicted to these incredibly potent substances.
“They’re seeking the feeling of euphoria at pocket money prices – crack rocks can be purchased for as little as a fiver with dealers available any time of day at the click of a button.
“Teenagers misusing crack and opiates at such an early age will not only suffer with the physical effects of the drugs, but the drugs could impact their education, overall achievement in life and expose them to a criminal environment at a young age, without full understanding of the risks and consequences of their actions."
The number of people recorded as using crack and opiates aged 25-34 in the West Midlands stands at 10,496 with a further 21,691 people hooked aged 35-64.
Mr Alexander added: “The impact of a person misusing these drugs in later life has a knock-on effect on their family, children, spouses as well as their own personal health, which will deteriorate at a much faster pace if drug use continues, and for some, will prove fatal.”
For more information on UK Addiction Treatment Centres visit ukat.co.uk