Hospitals in Birmingham have recorded a dramatic increase in the number of patients treated for drug abuse.
Cases of drug poisoning have increased by 16 per cent since 2004.
The figures were published in an NHS report on drug use which bought together statistics from a range of sources including hospital trusts and the British Crime Survey.
It found that Birmingham hospitals dealt with 339 cases where the primary diagnosis was poisoning by drugs last year. This was up from 305 cases in 2006, and 292 cases in 2005.
Around half of drug cases were dealt with by South Birmingham Primary Care Trust, which commissions services from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Edgbaston.
The report also found that 9.2 per cent of West Midlands people aged 15 to 64, about one in 11 people, admitted using drugs at least once in the past year – slightly below the national average.
It covered illicit drugs including cannabis, cocaine and tranquillisers obtained illegally, as well as glue and amylnitrate.
The most popular drug was cannabis, used by 7.8 per cent of West Midlands residents, followed by cocaine, used by 2.8 per cent of local people.
Across the West Midlands as a whole, hospitals treated 938 people for poisoning caused by drugs.
The figures showed a fall in the number of people admitted to hospital for drug-related mental health problems.
Hospitals in the West Midlands dealt with 3,687 cases - down from 3,967 a year earlier.
Drugs continued to claim hundreds of lives, with 1,573 deaths recorded across the country in 2006. The number of drug deaths had risen by a third in the past ten years, but is now beginning to fall.
The Department for Health insisted it was winning the battle against drugs. A spokesman said: “More people than ever before are getting into and staying in treatment, drug-related deaths are down and the level of drug-fuelled crime has fallen substantially.
“The high-quality drug treatment that is being provided is the most effective way of reducing illegal drug misuse, improving the physical and mental health of drug users, as well as reducing the harm they cause to themselves and society.”
Almost eight out of ten of those dying from drug use were men. And men were almost twice as likely as women to admit to taking drugs.
Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “Labour should not underestimate how bleak a picture these figures paint.
“Clearly too few people who misuse drugs are being identified and admitted to drug rehabilitation courses early on. As drugs get stronger, the harm they are doing to young people’s mental health is increasing. The Government needs to wake up to the scale of the problem we face on drug misuse.”
Shadow Home secretary Dominic Grieve added: “Drugs wreck lives, destroy communities and undermine all other efforts to combat crime.
“This is a shocking indictment of Labour’s failure to tackle the scourge of drugs. They allow drugs to flow in through our porous borders, tie our police up in red tape so they cannot catch and deter dealers, and then only seek to manage people’s addiction as opposed to ending it.”
The regions with the biggest drugs problems are the north west and north east of England, the report showed.
Residents in the north east are more than twice as likely as those in the West Midlands to be admitted to hospital for drug poisoning.