DRUG deaths in Barrow have fallen after a worrying rise more than a year ago, according to new figures.

A report suggests that officials have managed to slow down the spiralling trend after 12 people died between December 2017 and April 2018.

The figures from Cumbria County Council show that in the 16 months since December 2017, there were a total of 20 deaths and 28 “near misses”.

On Friday, county councillors on Barrow’s Local Committee will discuss a report by Lesley Graham, the public health manager for Barrow.

Her report said a “number of initiatives” had taken place in Barrow to prevent people losing their lives to drugs and help them on the road to recovery.

The work which had taken place via the “Barrow Drugs Death Group,” has made a difference, said Mrs Graham’s report.

The group was set up because Barrow’s drug death rate was far higher than it should be for the size of its population.

“As a result of the work of this group, drug deaths in Barrow have reduced,” she wrote.

“There has been a marked slow down in the last few months,” said Mrs Graham.

Her report said a “number of initiatives” had been introduced in Barrow to halt the number of people losing their lives to drugs.

Local users of opiates have been issued with Naloxone pens, which can reverse the effects of powerful drugs such as heroin and morphine and are said to sometimes prevent death if used within a short period of an overdose.

The report said that details of those people who come to the attention of the police in connection with drugs are now being shared with help groups suchy as Unity, the drug and alcohol recovery service, and The Well.

The not-for-profit community interest company in Dalton Road, which can help people recover from drug and alcohol addictions.

“There is an acceptance that the speed of sharing this information has contributed to preventing further harm to these individuals,” said Mrs Graham’s report.

The Well has provided a hospital service to people undergoing alcohol detox at Furness General Hospital since July 2018.

There have been high levels of participation in the scheme, according to the report.

More than 40 people a month are also visiting the Egerton Court Wellbeing Hub which provides support to vulnerable adults with drug or alcohol addictions, as well as helping with mental health or social issues, said the report.