Cuts to addiction services in England are 'a false economy' warns expert

May 24, 2017, British Medical Journal

Cuts to addiction services in England are a false economy and are instead increasing pressure elsewhere in the NHS, warns an expert in The BMJ today.

Professor Colin Drummond, Chair of the Addictions Faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, says typically services in England have seen cuts of 30% but some areas are planning cuts of up to 50%

Meanwhile, have more than doubled since addiction services were transferred from NHS control to local authorities in 2012 and are now at the highest level on record, he writes. Last year, there were more than 15,000 drug-related, and over 1 million alcohol-related hospital admissions.

The main opportunity to make cuts is in the workforce, explains Drummond, meaning fewer specialist addictions psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and nurses with a greater reliance on doctors without specialist training and volunteers with limited training.

The number of training posts in addiction psychiatry has decreased 60% since 2006.

In addition, NICE approved evidence-based treatments are under attack by the government as being part of "the methadone industry that keeps addicts hooked," he writes.

This has resulted in some local authorities limiting how long patients can remain on methadone treatment, and 'payment-by-results' contracts have removed the incentive for to take on patients with complex needs who are likely to need longer and more intensive treatment.

Cutting community based addictions services has also transferred the burden of patients with drug and alcohol dependence on already pressured emergency departments and general psychiatry, he warns.

The need for better access to addiction services is clear, writes Drummond.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is calling for a return to joint commissioning between the NHS and local authorities, for at least 60 addictions psychiatrist training posts in England, and for no further cuts to addiction services by local authorities.

"Our previously high functioning system has been downgraded by a short-term strategy to save money. This is a false economy," he argues. "If we want to tackle the rise in drugs related deaths, there must be at least 60 addiction psychiatry posts in England and there must be no further cuts to addiction services by ," he concludes.

Explore further: Longer addiction treatment is better, study confirms

More information: Cuts to addiction services in England are a false economy and will have a long term impact, blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2017/05/25/c … -are-a-false-economy

Related Stories

Longer addiction treatment is better, study confirms

March 4, 2017
(HealthDay)—The longer patients receive treatment for addiction, the greater their chances of success, a new study finds.

Stop-smoking services under threat as budgets are cut

November 16, 2016
Stop smoking services across England are facing ongoing budget cuts after six in ten local authorities (59 per cent) were forced to reduce their funding in the last year according to a new joint report by ASH and Cancer Research ...

Clinician awareness of exercise addiction may be lacking

April 27, 2017
(HealthDay)—Health care professionals need to recognize exercise addiction and understand its risks, according to a practice pointer published online April 19 in the BMJ.

Addiction consultation valuable for liver transplant patients

December 14, 2016
(HealthDay)—Liver transplantation (LT) patients should undergo addiction consultation to accurately detect alcohol consumption, according to a study published online Dec. 9 in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Study reveals extent of addictions in Alberta

November 20, 2015
Addictions directly affect up to one in five Albertan adults. They involve alcohol, gambling, legal and illicit drugs and a variety of other substances and types of behaviour.

Scientists propose neuroscience framework for diagnosing addictions

October 28, 2016
Scientists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, propose using an assessment tool to diagnose addictive disorders that considers addiction-related behaviors, ...

Recommended for you

Children of problem drinkers more likely to marry someone with a drinking problem: study

December 18, 2018
Children of parents who have alcohol use disorder are more likely to get married under the age of 25, less likely to get married later in life, and more likely to marry a person who has alcohol use disorder themselves, according ...

Early postpartum opioids linked with persistent usage

December 14, 2018
Vanderbilt researchers have published findings indicating that regardless of whether a woman delivers a child by cesarean section or by vaginal birth, if they fill prescriptions for opioid pain medications early in the postpartum ...

Drug wholesalers drove fentanyl's deadly rise, report concludes

December 4, 2018
Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid implicated in nearly 29,000 overdose deaths in the United States last year, most likely spread because of heroin and prescription pill shortages, and also because it was cheaper for drug ...

College students choose smartphones over food

November 16, 2018
University at Buffalo researchers have found that college students prefer food deprivation over smartphone deprivation, according to results from a paper in Addictive Behaviors.

Drug overdose epidemic goes far beyond opioids, requires new policies

November 7, 2018
Most government-funded initiatives to address the overdose epidemic in the United States have targeted opioids specifically and have neglected other drugs that are increasingly implicated in overdoses, such as cocaine and ...

Cocaine adulterant may cause brain damage

November 1, 2018
People who regularly take cocaine cut with the animal anti-worming agent levamisole demonstrate impaired cognitive performance and a thinned prefrontal cortex. These findings from two recent studies at the University of Zurich ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.