Police Commissioner Kim McGuinness has spoken of her pride at how Northumbria Police has taken £1m of illegal drugs off Newcastle’s streets in the past year, as staggering figures around drug and alcohol misuse across the city have been revealed.

Alarming numbers were shared at a conference this week highlighting the reality of addictions and show the North-East region has had the highest drug related death rate for the past few years.

Figures have also shown that between January and March this year, the North East Ambulance services reported 1218 alcohol-related call outs within the Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group alone.

Over the last year, Project Adder, an innovative project designed to tackle drug misuse, disrupt the supply chain, and topple the criminal groups profiting from the harm it causes, has been working in direct response to the city’s drug problems.

The project has brought Northumbria Police, Newcastle City Council, and local recovery services together and has marked its first year with very promising results.

As well as seizing £1m of illegal drugs successes include: 35 organised crime groups disrupted, 307 arrests and 1000 young people supported through harm reduction outreach work.

Addressing the room at the Project Adder Conference on Wednesday, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “To prevent crime, we must help those offending because of exploitation addiction and inequality. And to fight crime we must back our police who pursue these organised criminals who push drugs into our communities.

“There’s no two ways about it the numbers paint a very bleak reality – a crisis – and we have to get tough and throw everything we’ve got at this; we have to fight drug related crime head on, and we are. There really has been a lot of work going into getting this project off the ground and we are starting to see its impact.

“From £1m worth of class A drugs seized to more family support and recovery services available to those in need. These are wins that will benefit not just those struggling with addiction, but also the communities and residents of Newcastle who have to deal with the consequences of these untreated addictions.”