DrugScope, the national membership organisation for the drug sector, has today responded to the publication of new figures from the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA). The statistical release includes a long term analysis of trends in drug use, addiction and treatment as well as the latest adult drug treatment figures in England (2011-12).
The NTA report states that three times as many people are recovering from drug dependency compared to seven years ago. The number of new entrants into the drug treatment system whose primary problem drugs are heroin and crack is continuing to fall, a trend in declining heroin use which has been reflected in other research.
DrugScope welcomed the figures as evidence of the significant progress being made in improving treatment and recovery outcomes – but warned that the achievements of the past seven years may be compromised if investment comes under threat.
Martin Barnes, Chief Executive of DrugScope, said:
“Today’s figures show that the drug treatment sector continues to respond positively to the government’s ambition to improve treatment outcomes and support recovery. While there is much to do there is also much to celebrate – most importantly, the thousands of individual and inspiring stories of recovery, and what that means to people affected by drug problems, their family and friends.
“The challenge remains to deliver a truly integrated, balanced and recovery-oriented system – a challenge that the sector is willing and able to meet with the necessary resources and support. Achieving the ambitions in the Drug Strategy also requires the active engagement of a range of local services and organisations vital to supporting recovery – including housing services and providers, local employers, the Work Programme and services supporting families.
“Trends are showing a decline in heroin use and dependency, especially among young adults. This is perhaps a sign that drug treatment has been turning the tide of the heroin epidemic of the 1980s. We are, however, aware of the rising numbers of people over 40 in the treatment system, who often have particular needs around long term and entrenched heroin use.
“In difficult economic times there is a strong and compelling case for national and local investment in drug and alcohol treatment. We need to continue to make this case as the local funding and commissioning environment is changing, with the election of Police and Crime Commissioners, the introduction of the new public health system and the establishment of Public Health England. Despite encouraging trends in declining drug use, drug and alcohol dependency continue to blight the lives of many, with harms and costs for individuals, families and communities.”