CRIPPLING addiction rates relating to alcohol and drug abuse in an area of Barnsley have resulted in public health bosses stepping in to provide a dedicated worker to reduce the number of people requiring support.

More than 300 people across the North East ward of the town - which covers Brierley, Cudworth, Great Houghton, Grimethorpe, Little Houghton and Shafton - accessed drug and alcohol treatment last year.

The council gave the green light for £70,893 in funding, which will be jointly funded by the North East Area Council, public health, and health improvement and stronger communities, for an alcohol and drugs worker in the area.

The two-year fixed-term contract will allow the support worker to work with residents.

A report states: “This area of Barnsley has a high prevalence of clients who attended structured treatment for drug and alcohol use between April 2022 and March 2023.

“The North East ward has the second-highest postcode range with a concentrated number of people from this area accessing specialist support, followed closely by those living in Monk Bretton and Royston.

“Data provided by Barnsley Recovery Steps (BRS) shows that 328 people living in the North East ward accessed structured treatment during 2022/23.

“It is important to note that these figures account only for the number of clients known to be receiving support for alcohol and drug use from BRS and that there are a significantly higher number of people who may require interventions and support who are not known to the service.”

The majority of those in contact with the service had mental health issues and almost a third were unemployed.

“A total of 73 per cent of clients presented with a mental health need and 32.3 per cent were registered as unemployed, highlighting the impact on the wider determinants of health, with sustained alcohol and drug use affecting clients’ ability to obtain work and/or remain in employment,” the report added.

“Following on from the success of a similar ‘hub and spoke’ model implemented in 2021 to recruit area-based advisors to aid smoking cessation, the North East Area Team have committed to providing a dedicated alcohol and drugs advisor, for a fixed-term contract for a period of two years.

“The advisor will build relationships with members of the community, businesses and organisations, raise understanding of alcohol and drug use, and the issues related to these substances.”

Barnsley East MP Stephanie Peacock urged residents who are struggling with addiction to get in touch with Barnsley Recovery Steps.

She told the Chronicle: “Addiction is a really serious problem that can devastate lives.

“It is really worrying that it is estimated that there is a high number of people struggling with addiction in Barnsley, with many of these people not yet identified to the groups and organisations that can provide assistance to tackle addiction.

“If you are struggling with addiction, please reach out to someone you trust.

“Barnsley Recovery Steps can offer advice and support, and you can contact them on 779066.”