According to new NHS data. about 20% of Blackpool’s residents are prescribed painkillers or antidepressants. Some 35,000 patients, mostly in their 70s, needed painkillers and 34,000, mostly in their 50s, antidepressants, with thousands regularly taking both.
Here’s the per cent of people on antidepressants (left) and painkillers (right) in the seven areas most impacted:
- Blackpool – Antidepressants 19.3%, Painkillers 20.2%
- Sunderland – Antidepressants 18.7%, Painkillers 17.4%
- County Durham – Antidepressants 18.5%, 17.8%
- St Helens – Antidepressants 18.4%, Painkillers 18.6%
- Barnsley – Antidepressants 18.4%, Painkillers 18.2%
- South Tyneside – Antidepressants 17.9%, Painkillers 16.9%
- Knowsley – Antidepressants 17.6%, Painkillers 18.7%
The statistics also evidenced that Blackpool was one of England’s most deprived areas and one of the worst for violent crime, self-harming, suicides, alcohol abuse and cancer deaths. Blackpool GP Neil Hartley-Smith, said: ‘There are well-established links between deprivation and depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. Life expectancy for men is the lowest in the country and our area suffers from high levels of unemployment.’
On his visit to Blackpool last week, Boris Johnson refused to comment on why Blackpool Council’s bid for £20m from the Levelling Up Fund was rejected and failed to progress in November, 2021. This bid included £4m to upgrade convention space within the Winter Gardens, £7m towards refurbishing the former Abingdon Street Post Office to become an upmarket hotel and £9m for town centre road improvements to ease congestion.