16 August 2018

Cuts to Addiction Treatment Funding, as Drug Deaths Rise

In a nationwide campaign, UK Addiction Treatment has made freedom of information requests to all local authorities, to release details of their spending on alcohol and drug treatment services. We compared addiction treatment funding for 2013 to this year’s investment from councils – then considered this alongside data on drug-related deaths from the Office for National Statistics.

From this analysis, a worrying picture has emerged. In many cases, where addiction treatment budgets fall, deaths from drug use increase. UKAT founder and CEO, Eytan Alexander, has called upon councils to reconsider urgently their allocation of public health funding for life-saving drug and alcohol treatment. “Addiction is a debilitating psychiatric disorder,” he said. “Ultimately, when people engage in treatment the whole community benefits.”

Addiction treatment funding in Rochdale

On 15th May 2018, Rochdale Online reported a reduction in addiction treatment funding from £4.1 million (2013/14) to £2.5 million (2018/19) – with a 12% increase in deaths relating to drug misuse.

The article also highlighted a passage from last year’s government drugs strategy, which says that investment in treatment services for drug dependency saves lives and reduces drug-related harms in society.

Addiction treatment funding in Islington

On 30th May 2018, the Islington Gazette reported that Islington Council is now spending £3.9 million less on alcohol and drug treatment than in 2013. This represents a 43% cut in their budget. In the same period, drug-related deaths have risen from 27 to 37 across the London Borough of Islington.

Eytan Alexander called for “better availability and access to government funded rehabilitation and detoxification centres with earlier interventions.”

Addiction treatment funding in Oxfordshire

On 30th May 2018, the Oxford Times covered the news that the £1 million fall in funding for substance misuse services could be linked to a 32% rise in drug-related deaths.

Eytan Alexander said: “It’s difficult for Oxfordshire County Council to deny the link between the drop off in budget allocation for drug and alcohol treatment services and the rise in drug-related deaths.”

Addiction treatment funding in Camden

On 5th June 2018, The Ham & High reported on the 61% increase in deaths from drug misuse since 2013. Today, Camden Council are spending £3.3 million less on drug and alcohol treatment than five years ago.

Eytan Alexander said there was a need for “better spending decisions next year in order to help those most vulnerable in society.”

Addiction treatment funding in Wiltshire

On 8th June 2018, The Wiltshire Times highlighted a fall of £2.6 million since 2013 in Wiltshire Council’s budget for drug and alcohol prevention and treatment services. Over the same time period, data from the Office for National Statistics shows a 109% rise in deaths related to substance abuse.

Addiction treatment funding in Brent

On 8th June 2018, The Kilburn Times covered this story in Brent. UKAT’s freedom of information request showed a 30% cut in spending on drug and alcohol treatment services.

How have Councils responded?

Many local authorities have said that the reduction in their addiction treatment funding is connected to the cutbacks in their central government funding. They have also highlighted local alcohol and drug treatment services, which they say work well for people with a range of addictive disorders.

While there are always good examples of drug and alcohol treatment services to commend, UKAT believe that these local investment decisions are mismatched with the government’s drugs strategy. Across the nation, addiction treatment funding should be prioritised in the light of rising drug deaths and the benefits for the community as a whole.

Find out more about UK Addiction Treatment Centres here – including our most cost-effective detox and rehab treatment programmes. To speak to an adviser in confidence about addiction treatment, call 0808 223 0368.

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