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Substance Misuse Strategy

Where are we now?


In 2019 there were over 37 million visitors to Cheshire West and Chester, though this number reduced significantly to 20 million in 2020 as a result of the COVID- 19 pandemic1 and so, we want to ensure that we promote a diverse and safe night time economy. However, this does bring with it an added layer of complexity, with some aspects of tourism being associated with excessive alcohol consumption. This can be seen clearly in the headline statistics for the local area:

  • Across Cheshire West and Chester in 2020/21 there were 2,125 people admitted to hospital with alcohol specific conditions, with men accounting for 60 percent2
  • In Cheshire West and Chester, although our overall hospital admission rates for alcoholic liver disease in adults have decreased since 2019/20 from 115 per 100,000 to 109 per 100,000 in 2020/21 (below the North West and England rates), our hospital admission rates for alcohol related liver disease in women have seen an annual increase from 83 per 100,000 to 93 per 100,000 women in 2020/21.2
  • In 2020 there were 132 deaths related to alcohol in Cheshire West and Chester (36 per 100,000, slightly lower than the England figure of 37.8 per 100,000 and the North West at 45.7 per 100,000)3
  • In 2019, there were 2753 recorded alcohol-related offences in Cheshire West and Chester, with a similar figure reported in 2020 despite the pandemic4


The harms from drugs are extensive and include health issues, drug dependency, crime committed to fuel drug dependence, organised criminality, violence, and exploitation. Often causing irreparable damage and loss to communities, families, and individuals too. We know that:

  • In 2020 an estimated 17,398 adults aged 16-59 years in Cheshire West and Chester have taken an illicit drug.
  • In 2019 there were 733 recorded drug offences in Cheshire West and Chester, reducing to 651 in 20204
  • Locally, there were 51 deaths from drug misuse in 2018-20, a rate of 5.4 per 100,0005.

In addition, we recognise the role of those in recovery, they are experts by experience and can help shape interventions and services. In Cheshire West and Chester in 2020/21 there were 1,650 people in treatment for drug and alcohol misuse6. 


  1. State of the Borough: Culture and tourism
  2. Disparities, Office for Health Improvement and Local Alcohol Profiles
  3. Local Area Profiles for England: Mortality. Fingertips Public Health Data
  4. West Cheshire Community Safety. Strategic Assessment of Crime and Disorder. Cheshire Constabulary Corporate Research and Analysis, 2020.
  5. Disparities, Office for Health Improvement and. Public Health Profiles. Fingertips Public Health Data 2022
  6. System, Nationals Drug Treatment Monitoring. All In Treatment