Sharp fall in number of patients treated for drug and alcohol addictions

The number of patients treated for addiction in North Somerset has fallen.

The number of patients treated for addiction in North Somerset has fallen. - Credit: Archant

The number of adults receiving help for drug and alcohol addictions has fallen significantly over the past two years.

Weston MP John Penrose has welcomed figures from Public Health England which show the number of patients receiving treatment for drug and alcohol addiction has dropped by 14 per cent since March 2017.

However, charities say the figures mask dramatic cuts to services which have led the numbers to fall substantially.

Over the past two years, the number of patients treated for opioid addiction fell by 13 per cent.

Similarly, the number of patients treated for non-opioid addiction fell by nine per cent.


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These figures have outstripped both the regional and national averages, with the number of patients treated for addiction in the UK and the South West falling by only four per cent during the same period.

Mr Penrose, who launched the Cleaner Weston campaign in 2012 to reduce the number of rehab centres in the town and ‘improve the effectiveness’ of those which remained open, described the figures as ‘proof of progress’.

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He said: “Weston has long-needed fewer, better rehabs because addicts have a better chance of breaking free of their addition and Weston doesn’t become a dumping ground for the rest of the country’s problems.

“We have made huge progress in recent years and these figures are the latest examples of the progress we have made.

“I’m continuing to work closely with the Community Safety and Drug Action Teams to maintain the pressure and make sure we keep moving forwards.”

However, the overall effectiveness of treatment in North Somerset has remained largely consistent, with the effectiveness of non-opioid treatment falling by five per cent.

Gill Flanagan, service manager at Addaction North Somerset, said: “Nationally, the number of adults in structured treatment has gone down and this is the case in North Somerset as well.

“Unfortunately, the problem is not going away – as figures show the number of patients who need drug and alcohol support has remained broadly similar.

“Budget cuts have had an effect on the number of staff in services, leading the number of patients to fall.”

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