04.10.12 Addaction responds to latest drug figures and warns against complacency
Today (4th October), the National Treatment Agency (NTA) has published new figures about both drug usage and treatment in England.
They show that specialist treatment services, such as those provided by Addaction, continue to help more and more people into long-lasting recovery from their problems. In fact, there are three times as many people successfully completing treatment as there were only seven years ago: a record number.
Yet we would guard against any assumption that these problems are no longer a priority. Both are drugs that blight the lives of our service users, their families and the wider community. And, alongside alcohol, they continue to be some of the most common drugs that Addaction treats people for.
We are also very concerned about the number of people seeking our help because of ‘prescription drugs’ over recent years. The misuse of drugs such as diazepam has become prevalent in a number of services, and through the specialist support we provide to young people, we have seen a resurgence in the misuse of drugs such as ketamine and ‘legal’ highs. Each of these examples show how the drug market is constantly evolving, and how treatment services need to be able to adapt and respond to shifts in use. And while it is encouraging to see older users seeking help, many for the first time, we need to be able to provide that support in a comprehensive, effective way.
Next year, the NTA’s function will be incorporated into that of Public Health England. Local government will be given far more control over the provision of drug and alcohol treatment in each area of the country. Today’s figures show how far things have come over the past seven years and Addaction would call for everyone involved in the changes to healthcare to fully understand the benefits – both financial and societal – that a well funded, creative treatment system delivers.