12 March 2018
A perfect storm is brewing. Years of austerity, the degradation of public services, sluggish growth and falling wages are all contributing to increasing pressures on the poor and vulnerable in society. Drug and alcohol problems rarely sit in isolation; all too often they are tied up with an array of complex issues such as mental health, unemployment, homelessness, domestic violence and social deprivation. In the midst of all this, the drug and alcohol treatment system is under increasing strain and is facing a cocktail of different challenges. We set out six of them below. All of these will need to be tackled if the ambitions set out in the Government’s 2017 Drug Strategy are to be realised, and if we are to halt the record levels of drug-related deaths witnessed last year.
- Only 1 in 5 with an alcohol problem is able to get treatment: NDTMS 2014/15 and Estimates of Alcohol Dependence in England based on APMS 2014
- 40% of opiate users are outside treatment: NDTMS 2014/15 and Estimates of opiate and crack cocaine use prevalence: 2014/15
- 25% reduction in funding for treatment: Collective Voice analysis of local authority and prison spend
- 2/3 of prisoners needing treatment on release don’t get it: Public Health England
- Street homelessness has more than doubled since 2010: Rough sleeping in England: autumn 2017
- Emerging signs of drug-related crime increasing again: Crime in England and Wales: year ending September 2017