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

Exercise helps treat addiction by altering brain's dopamine system

May 28, 2018
New research by the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions has identified a key mechanism in how aerobic exercise can help impact the brain in ways that may support treatment—and even prevention strategies—for ...

Warning labels on alcohol containers highly deficient, new research shows

May 21, 2018
Current health warning labels on alcohol beverage containers in New Zealand are highly deficient, new research from the University of Otago, Wellington shows.

Serving smaller alcoholic drinks could reduce the U.K.'s alcohol consumption

May 14, 2018
New research published in Addiction, conducted by researchers from the Universities of Liverpool and Sheffield, highlights the potential benefits of reducing the standard serving size of alcoholic beverages.

Anti-alcoholism drug shows promise in animal models

May 3, 2018
Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have successfully tested in animals a drug that, they say, may one day help block the withdrawal symptoms and cravings that incessantly coax people with alcoholism to drink. ...

FDA-approved drugs to treat diabetes and obesity may reduce cocaine relapse and help addicted people break the habit

April 28, 2018
Cocaine and other drugs of abuse hijack the natural reward circuits in the brain. In part, that's why it's so hard to quit using these substances. Moreover, relapse rates hover between 40 and 60 percent, similar to rates ...

Buprenorphine may be safer than methadone if treatment duration is longer, study suggests

April 20, 2018
The less commonly prescribed opioid substitute buprenorphine may be safer than methadone for problem opioid users, especially if used during the first month of treatment, according to a study which includes University of ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

BubbaNicholson
1 / 5 (1) May 26, 2017
250mg of healthy adult male facial skin surface lipid pheromone taken by mouth cures opioid addiction.
Use extreme care handling the "male face grease" pheromone because it emits a sub-pheromone with toxic emotional outcomes: superstition, suspicion, arrogance, stupidity, jealousy.

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.