- Over 4,000 fewer drug and alcohol addicts getting the treatment they need
- Government’s 2017 Drug Strategy released last week in House of Commons fails to impress, and is described as “old methods wrapped in shinier paper”
- Experts urge local authorities to “spend the money where it’s most needed”
Figures provided by Public Health England to addiction helpline Addiction Helper under a Freedom of Information Request shows that the number of drug and alcohol addicts going into major full-time rehab have fallen over the last few years.
The figures show that the number of statutory ‘inpatient detox’ admissions fell from 20,046 in 2010/11 to 15,813 in 2015/16 and in the same period the number of statutory residential rehab admissions fell from 8,456 to 7,527.
This comes at a time when latest ONS statistics show that deaths related to drug misuse are at their highest level since comparable records began in 1993, even though the total proportion of people in the population using drugs is falling.
Last week’s announcement of the Government’s new 2017 Drug Strategy failed to impress those in the House of Commons, especially Labour MP Diane Abbott who described the latest strategy as “old methods wrapped in shinier paper”, going on to say;
“When it comes to Public Health, the Gov talks a good talk but doesn’t follow through on the resources. In this strategy there is nothing about providing more resources to local authorities who are on the frontline of tackling drug and alcohol misuse.
“Cuts to Public Health are disastrous. The Treasury clawed back funds which had been promised. Until the Government puts its money where its mouth is on its drugs strategy, the public will remain skeptical.”
Earlier this month the King’s Fund health think tank said budgets for drug and alcohol treatment were being cut between 2016/17 and 2017/18, but these cuts will continue to transfer the burden of patients with drug and alcohol addiction on to already stretched emergency departments.
NHS 2017 data shows that 1 in 12 adults took an illicit drug in the last year, equating to around 2.7million people and that in 2015, there were 1.1million admissions to hospital relating to alcohol consumption (4% more than in 2014/15) and 6,813 deaths related to the consumption of alcohol- 1.4% of all deaths.
Daniel Gerrard, Founder of Addiction Helper, believes that the situation is at tipping point and that patient care could be at very real risk;
“What statutory rehabilitation centres are being asked to do is becoming dangerous.
“Unfortunately, drug and alcohol addiction is on the rise, and more and more patients are presenting with multiple complex addictions which is more often than not, too advanced an addiction for recovery at their local community treatment centre.
“However, budgets have been cut almost in half in many areas, leaving community treatment centres with less money to process referrals to either public or private rehab centres. Less money to process referrals means less patients getting the treatment they need.”
“It’s difficult to see our Government-funded centres becoming so unsafe to patients because of a lack of willingness to spend the money where it’s most needed.”
For the full results from the Freedom of Information Request, visit www.addictionhelper.com/rehab-research/