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Young people's alcohol and substance misuse


Introduction

This section contains data, information and a summary profile in relation to the nature and impact of substance misuse amongst young people in Oldham.

Data Overview

Numbers of Young People in treatment for substance misuse in Oldham
Figure 1 below shows the numbers in treatment and new presentations to treatment for substance misuse amongst young people from Oldham from April 2015/March 2016 to April 2022/March 2023.  Following a significant downward trend from the earliest census period to March 2021 numbers in treatment and those newly presenting have risen sharply in the past two years – in both instances the highest levels of treatment engagement in the eight years on view have been recorded.


Across GM Oldham has the fourth highest rate of young people in treatment services for substance misuse with 2.04 per 1,000 of the 0-17 population. Rochdale has the highest with 2.34 and Trafford the lowest with 0.95. Oldham’s rate is 29.9% greater than the GMCA average (1.57 per 1,000), 41.7% higher than the North West rate (1.44) and almost double the England average of 1.03.

Summary profile of young people in treatment for substance misuse in Oldham
Figure 2 below shows data in relation to the demographic make-up of Oldham’s young people in-treatment population from 2020/21 to 2022/23.


In 2020/21 the proportion of males and females in treatment was 50% each, however, in the most recent period (2022/23) the ratio was 60:40 males to females. In terms of ethnicity, the largest concentration can be found amongst young people from ‘White/White British’ ethnicities with 80% in 2020/21 but currently account for approximately 70% of this in-treatment population in Oldham. In the most recent period young people from ‘Asian/Asian British’ backgrounds had the second highest concentration with approximately 13% - almost double the rate for the previous year. Those from ‘Mixed/Dual Heritage ethnicities’ accounted for 7.5% of young people in treatment for substance misuse during 2022/23 compared to 16% in the previous year.

Figure 2 also shows that the age cohort with the greatest proportion in the two most recent census periods was found amongst 13-14 year olds with 33% to 35%, followed by 15 year olds who have typically accounted for around 28% to 29% of this in-treatment population. Those aged 16 years have increased their representation from 10% in 2020/21 to 23% in 2022/23, while the proportion of 17 years olds decreased from 25% to 9% over the same period.

Referral sources amongst young people in substance misuse treatment services in Oldham
Figure 3 below shows referral sources amongst young people newly presenting to treatment services over the past three years in Oldham.  In 2020/21 referrals from ‘Children/Family Services’ accounted for the highest proportion with 41.5%, however, by 2022/23 referrals from this source had almost halved to 21%.  During the same period referrals from ‘Education services’ trebled from 14% to 45%, becoming the most common referrers in 2022/23 – compared to a national average of 25.4%.  ‘Health/Mental Health’ referrals increased from 0.0% (2020/21) to 22.5% in 2022/23 during which they became the second highest referrers.  Within this category approximately one-third were ‘hospital’ referrals, accounting for 14.1% of all referrals – almost six times the England average of 2.4%.  It can also be observed that referrals from ‘Self, Family & Friends’, ‘Substance Misuse Services’ and ‘Youth Justice’ fell significantly during the three census periods on view.


Accommodation status amongst young people in treatment for substance misuse in Oldham
‘Accommodation status’ amongst Oldham’s young people in treatment for substance misuse is shown in Figure 4 below.  While ‘NFA (i.e. No Fixed Abode) - urgent housing need’ was 0.0% in 2020/21 and 2021/22, during 2022/23 6.8% of this cohort indicated this accommodation level – three times the England average of 2.2%.  The vast majority of young people in treatment (ranging from 81% to almost 90%) described their accommodation as ‘living with parents or other relatives’ (England average: 76.7%).


Figure 4 above also shows that young people indicating they were ‘living in care’ accommodation, however, the proportion has more than halved from 16.7% in 2020/21 to 7.5% in the most recent period – similar to trends for England.

Education, employment and training status amongst young people in treatment for substance misuse in Oldham
Figure 5 below illustrates the distribution of young people in treatment services in Oldham by ‘Education, Employment and Training Status’ from 2020/21 to 2022/23.  In both 2020/21 and 2021/22 the proportion of those indicating they were in ‘Mainstream education’ was 50% to 54%, by far the most common citation at the time.  In 2022/23, however, such indications fell sharply to less than 5%.  During the same period indications for ‘Alternative education’ more than trebled from approximately 20% to 66.7% in 2022/23 – by far the highest proportion and seventeen percentage points above the England average.


Figure 5 above also shows that young people experiencing temporary exclusion increased from 0.0% in both 2020/21 and 2021/22 to 16.5% in 2022/23 – becoming the second most likely form of ‘Education, Employment and Training Status’ to be indicated amongst this young in-treatment cohort (England average: 13.5%). One other notable change can be observed amongst those indicating they were ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training’ or ‘NEETs’, the proportion of which was fallen from 20.8% in 2020/21 to less than 5% in 2022/23 (England average: 8.2%).

Substance use amongst young people in treatment for substance misuse in Oldham
Figure 6 below shows substance use indicated amongst young people in treatment for substance misuse in Oldham 2020/21 to 2022/23.  Cannabis is almost ubiquitous in nature with nine in ten of this young cohort citing its use.  Alcohol is second most commonly recorded substance, ranging from 35% to 43% followed by Cocaine (powder) with indications almost halving from 16.7% in 2020/21 to 9.0% in 2022/23.


Treatment interventions for young people in treatment for substance misuse in Oldham
Figures 7a below shows an overview of structured treatment interventions for young people in treatment for substance misuse in Oldham.  ‘YP harm reduction’ interventions decreased slightly from 100.0% in 2020/21 to 96.2% in 2022/23.  The most recent rate is significantly higher than the England average of 67.2%.  The rate for ‘YP multi-agency working’ in Oldham has increased significantly since the 50.0% reported in 2020/21 to 84% in both 2021/22 and 2022/23.  Again, the most recent rate for Oldham is far greater than the national average of 59.8%.


Figure 7a above also shows that the two most recent rates for ‘Psycho-social interventions’ has been provided for 100% of Oldham’s young in-treatment cohort and compares favourably, albeit slightly, with the England average of 95% (2022/23).

In Figure 7b below the distribution of ‘psych-social sub-interventions’ is shown for Oldham’s young people in treatment for substance misuse from 2020/21 to 2022/23. It can be observed that over the three census periods on view ‘Cognitive/Behavioural’ sub-interventions have more than trebled from 12.3% to 39.5% (England average: 29.2%) while ‘Motivational interventions’ have increased more slightly from 38.4% to 42.8% (England average: 51.8%).


Figure 7b above also shows ‘Contingency management’ has more than halved from 30.4% to 12.8% (England average: 7.2%) and ‘Counselling’ from 8.7% to less than 5% (England average: 5.3%).

Treatment exits amongst young people in treatment for substance misuse in Oldham
Figure 8 below shows treatment exit status amongst those discharged from treatment for young people.  In 2020/21 planned exits completed ‘drug free’ was 8.3%, increasing five-fold to 47.1% in 2021/22 but falling back to 25.4% in 2022/23 (England average: 29.2%).


Figure 8 above also shows that planned discharges where the young person was classed as an ‘occasional user’ increased from 41.7% in 2020/21 to 59.1% in 2022/23 – significantly greater than the England average of 48.7%. Over the same period unplanned exits where the client ‘dropped out’ of treatment increased from less than 5% to 14.1% - similar to the national average of 13.1%.

Further Information & Resources

Contact


Health and Wellbeing Board

Oldham Council

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