Overcoming an addiction can be challenging at the best of times, but with the support of addiction services that run across the country, many addicts will be able to beat their addiction and go on to lead a healthier life. However, there have been some serious concerns raised after budget cuts mean that some addiction services will only be able to help a certain number of people, leaving thousands without the treatment they so desperately need.
Council budget cuts will see 1,500 fewer addicts receiving addiction treatment every year in Staffordshire, as Staffordshire County Council has reduced its overall spending on alcohol and drug services by £3.4 million to fill a hole left by the loss of NHS funding. Addiction services for these individuals will be primarily focusing on ‘high risk’ addicts going forward to ensure that they are not swamped with requests for treatment. The total number of addicts receiving treatment for their addictions in Staffordshire will drop drastically from approximately 3,800 to 2,300, while the number of addicts who attend the Burton Addiction Centre (BAC) will decrease by half from 160 to 80, as the council battles desperately to save money.
The BAC was left with no other option but to close its Newcastle (Staffs.) rehabilitation centre after its council funding was dramatically cut by £800,000, even though a petition to keep it open received a huge 48,000 signatures. These cuts will see 700 individuals waiting for assistance from these community services at any one time, although, they will be offered advice, peer support and information while waiting for treatment. It is thought that there will be many more ‘high risk’ individuals than expected after the reduced services following a ‘surge’ of recent referrals. The council do plan to recruit some staff from the intensive family support service to help ease the pressure, but they have acknowledged that even some of the high-risk addicts could still be left waiting to receive treatment.
Estimates by the Department of Health have shown that there could be up to 200,000 adults in the Staffordshire area alone who frequently consume alcohol above the recommended guidelines and 40,000 of these are ‘clinically’ dependent on alcohol or drugs. Cabinet member for health, care and wellbeing, Councillor Alan White, said, “The county council has had to make some difficult decisions across the whole organisation in order to be able to set a balanced budget for next year. This includes reducing funding for some health and care services in order to allow us to maintain and increase funding for other services.”
He went on to say, “Drugs and alcohol can have a terrible impact on some people’s lives, and we recognise that these services are vital. But, we have a balancing act with having to provide other services. This is why we will be focusing services on those who are in immediate need of treatment. We will still be investing £5 million a year into these services, and our priority now is to work with partners so we can continue to support those who need help the most.”
You could be dealing with addiction and need assistance when overcoming this; if so, you have joined thousands of people in the UK in a similar situation as you. Here at Recovery Lighthouse, we help individuals deal with addiction and go on to lead a sober life after treatment. Beating an addiction can be challenging, but with the right support, you will be able to achieve sobriety; we guarantee that it will be one of the best decisions you have ever made. For more information, get in touch with us today.
- Hundreds of Staffordshire addicts forced to wait for treatment due to £3.4m cuts (Stoke Sentinel)