UK addiction treatment centres braced for new year surge in demand

2nd January 2019

Self-referrals predicted to reach record levels amid fears that cuts to drug and alcohol services are compounding problem.

Addiction treatment centres are bracing themselves for a leap in people seeking help after the festive period, amid fears that cuts to drug and alcohol services mean some addicts are being cut adrift.

The UK is the drug overdose capital of Europe, according to the European monitoring centre for drugs and drug addiction, with almost one in three of the continent’s overdose deaths, mainly related to heroin and opioids. Alcohol specific deaths have also risen  in recent years, as have alcohol related hospital admissions.

At the same time, experts say local drug and alcohol teams are not getting the funding they need because of the squeeze on local authorities’ public health budgets, forcing increasing numbers of people to self-refer for costly treatment.

Eytan Alexander, a recovering addict and founder of  (Ukat), which runs six facilities in England, said he expected self-referrals to reach unprecedented levels after the festive period.

“The trouble with alcohol and drug addicts is the inability to choose so when it’s Christmas and when there’s a justification they hit it hard. Who doesn’t like a drink at Christmas? A lot of families will tolerate it and then it goes to a new level and he [the addict] can’t cope.

“The drug and alcohol teams do amazing work but they’re fighting with one hand behind their back so people look for other alternatives.”

The number of people it treated in the first three months of last year – 467 – was more than double that of the same period the previous year. It is expecting another big increase in January to March next year.

Admissions in each month last year were higher than than in 2016, with admissions for December forecast to be 40% higher than those 12 months earlier.

A link to the article can be found here.