Recovery Plus: save time, save lives
Cuts to addiction-treatment services are a
false economy: their beneficial effects are also
cut, displacing pressure to services elsewhere.
Dr Colin Drummond prescribes options.
This continual and
unnecessary churn of
service providers is
services has transferred
the burden of patients
with drug and alcohol
dependence on to
The 15,074 hospital
England for illicit
drug poisoning is an
increase of 6% on the
previous year – and is
a staggering 51% higher
than in 2005/0610,11.
ÂÂ Savings will cost the NHS more in the long run
ÂÂ Crisis-hit A&Es will suffer further
ÂÂ Budgets for addiction services in some areas
have been slashed by 50%
ÂÂ Reduced specialists means reliance on staff
without specialist training
ÂÂ Drug-related deaths now highest on record
since under local authority control
ÂÂ Royal College of Psychiatrists calls for no
further cuts to addiction services.
Cuts at a local level
make savings – but
what is the real cost?
Our previously well
system has been
downgraded by a short-term tactic to save
money. This is a false economy. If we want to
tackle the rise in drugs related deaths, there
must be at least 60 addiction psychiatry training
posts in England and there must be no further
cuts to addiction services by local authorities.
your library’s essential reference May/June 2017 19
About the author
Colin Drummond is professor
of addictions psychiatry at
the Institute of Psychiatry,
Psychology, and Neuroscience,
King’s College London and
a consultant psychiatrist at
South London and Maudsley
NHS Foundation Trust. He is
the chair of the Addictions
Faculty at the Royal College
of Psychiatrists and a National
Institute of Health Research
THE COST TO SOCIETY OF DRINK AND DRUGS
LL Alcohol-related harm costs England about
£21billion per year.
LL That includes £3.5 billion expense to the NHS.
LL About £11 billion annually is spent tackling
alcohol-related crime, £7.3billion is lost from
lost work days and productivity.
LL Every year drug addiction costs society
LL That includes £488million for NHS England.
LL A heroin/crack user not in treatment commits
crime costing an average £26,074 a year
LL The annual cost of looking after drug using
parents' children who have been taken into
care is £42.5million.
Source: Public Health England
2 ONS, Sept 2016
3 NHS Digital, Feb 2017
4 The Sentinel 2017;
30% cuts already:
Lancet, 2014; Liverpool
5 Lancet, 2014
Workforce Strategy for
Training. RCPsych, 2017
7 RCPsych evidence
to HEE Workforce
Planning, July 2015, p5
8 Middleton, J,
McGrail, S, Stringer, K,
Drug related deaths in
England and Wales, The
10 NHS Digital,
11 NHS Digital,
Recovery Plus adds: About half of the UK's addictiontreatment
rehabs have closed since 2008. About
24 rehabs closed in the 24 months leading to the
2010 general election, then over 18 since. A few
recently opened, mainly commercial and mainly
with lower than traditional costs.