I recently received the following figures from RehabGrads which show the current state-of-play in the English & Welsh drug treatment field. The figures are as follows:
- 204,473 are “in contact” with treatment services.
- 75% of those are on a prescription (mainly methadone)
- 49% are on scripts alone with no other intervention or support.
- 19% of those on scripts have been for more than five years.
- 5% received inpatient detoxification.
- 2% gained access to residential rehabilitation (only 1 in 3 of those referred actually gain funding and successful admission).
- 0% are known to leave treatment abstinent because no useful records are taken.
This system costs £730 million annually. This is what society is spending on a flawed treatment system.
But what are the costs of addiction to society?
£1.4 to £1.7 billion is the figure estimated for benefits being paid to those in treatment (figure not include child care costs). – CPS.org
The average cost to society of an addict or alcoholic in active addiction – the year leading up to admission into rehab – is estimated at £85,000 by the Concordat of Addiction Treatment Providers. This figure includes hospital detox, policing and criminal justice costs, GP visits and prescriptions.
The key conclusion here is that greater access to rehab is desperately needed. We know already that drug users who go to residential rehab are seven times more likely to be drug-free after three years than those who go to methadone clinics (The Centre for Drug Misuse Research, University of Glasgow).
All of this begs the question – how much worse are the figures for Scotland?