ALMOST 2,500 young people were admitted to hospital for drug misuse in the south east over the course of two years, new figures have revealed.

Data from Public Heath England has shown the latest figures on hospital admissions due to substance misuse for those aged 15-24-years-old.

NHS hospitals across the South East have had to deal with almost 2,500 admission episodes of kids and young adults between 2016-2018; hundreds more than they faced a decade ago.

An analysis of the statistics by drug addiction treatment experts UKAT reveals that the number of hospital admissions across the South East has risen in ten years from 1,634 in 2008 to 2011 to 2,395 in 2016 to 2019 - a 45 per cent increase.

In Southampton, there was a 78 per cent rise in substance abuse admissions to hospital in ten years.

In 2008 to 2011 there were 84 admissions in the city, however the figures have risen to 150 between the years 2016 to 2019.

In Hampshire, hospital admissions for substance abuse were at 251 between 2008 and 2011 but that rose to 405 in 2016 to 2019.

That is a rise of 61 per cent.

Public Health England stated that the figures are representative of hospital admissions where the primary diagnosis could be mental and behavioural disorders.

These could be due to either; opioids like heroin; cannabinoids such as THC found is cannabis; sedatives like alcohol and Xanax; cocaine; hallucinogens such as LSD and Ketamine; and psychoactive substances such as Spice.

Nuno Albuquerque, Group Treatment Lead at addiction firm UKAT, said: “These figures are extremely concerning, especially because they won’t paint the whole picture.

"There’ll be countless more children and young adults living across the South East misusing drugs without the need for hospitalisation; this report shows the worst outcomes of when kids ‘experiment’ with drugs.

“Drug misuse at such an early age of life can result in real long-term physical and social problems; not only are they negatively altering the way their brain grows and develops, but they could miss out on education, develop limited and stinted human relationships, become withdrawn from society and turn to crime to fund their habit."