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Budget 2018: why invest in drug and alcohol treatment?

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With the Government publishing its next Budget at the end of this month, Collective Voice has written to the Treasury to make the case for ending the year-on-year fall in funding for drug and alcohol treatment.

Drug and alcohol treatment is well-established as being able to protect drug users and their families from harm. It is rightly one of the pillars around which the Government’s 2017 Drug Strategy is built and should be a central theme of the forthcoming Alcohol Strategy too.

Government policies recognise the importance of drug and alcohol treatment in reducing crime and in the rehabilitation of offenders. Treatment also delivers significant savings to other public services and to the economy by way of increased productivity. The case for investment is well established.

Despite this, analysis by Collective Voice suggests that funding for drug and alcohol treatment in communities and prisons has fallen by about 25-30% in real terms since 2013/14. If we are not to see  a reversal of the huge benefits to society delivered so far, the Government must find a funding mechanism that stabilises and protects this funding.

Collective Voice also supports a renewed focus on alcohol treatment within the wider treatment system and the use of 1% of alcohol duty to fund £100m or more of new alcohol treatment. This would make significant inroads into helping the 80% of people in need of specialist alcohol treatment whose needs are currently not being met.

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Collective Voice is the national charity working to improve England’s drug and alcohol treatment and recovery systems