Government cuts have left drug and alcohol addiction services at breaking point. Deaths from drug use are now at their highest level, and 600,000 people are dependent on alcohol. I have met with several people, and know of many more, who have serious addiction issues and are in desperate need of treatment, but tragically the support they require just isn’t available.
Next year, there will be a £34 million cut in Government funding for addiction treatment services which will force many to close. Chandos House, Bristol’s sole residential rehabilitation centre, has already been forced to close its doors after 35 years serving the community. It is scandalous that the Government is cutting funding for these important services at a time when demand for them is so high.
The Labour Party has just committed to a major programme of expansion of drug and alcohol addiction services, which include setting out plans for a Substance Misuse Strategy, promising to help vulnerable children and families affected by substance misuse through a fully resourced strategy underpinned by national minimum standards, and a better linking up of addiction services and mental health services.