12 April 2018
Drug and alcohol treatment brings a host of benefits to individuals, families and communities:
- Saving lives – Treatment is a protective factor against overdose and helps to prevent the spread of blood-borne viruses such as HIV and hepatitis C.
- Helping people to recover – Treatment is instrumental in helping people to break the cycle of addiction and to turn their lives around.
- Improving children’s life chances – Growing up with a parent misusing substances has a detrimental impact on children’s health and wellbeing, relationships, educational attainment and future substance use. Treatment provides families with stability and reverses some of these negative impacts.
- Reducing crime – The Government’s 2016 Modern Crime Prevention Strategy identifies access to drug treatment as one of society’s most effective tools to reduce crime. As much as a third of the reduction in acquisitive crime in the 21st century has been attributed to the improved availability of treatment since 2001.
- Preventing the spread of addiction – Active drug users outside treatment recruit the next generation of drug users, whereas those in treatment are less likely to be user dealers and thus are less likely to spread the misuse of drugs.
However, funding for drug and alcohol treatment has decreased by 25% since 2013, putting all of these benefits at risk. Drug and alcohol treatment saves society £2.4 billion every year, and so further disinvestment is short-sighted and will only lead to an exacerbation of problems in the long run.