Joy at Weston’s rehab rehabilitation

THE number of drug rehab spaces in Weston has nearly halved in the past six years – a reduction hailed as ‘really impressive progress’ by the town’s MP.

In recent years, Weston has been blighted by an unsavoury reputation as the nation’s rehab capital, with huge numbers of addicts sent here from around the country for treatment.

However, concerns were repeatedly raised about the quality of some rehab programmes, and the lack of support on offer to those who finish their recovery period.

The fear was that many relapsed, and turned to crime to support their habit – causing misery for Weston residents.

MP John Penrose has spoken publicly of the need to clamp down on the problem, and says his campaigning is finally bearing fruit.

The number of rehab premises has dropped from 40 to 25, and the total number of patient beds has been reduced from 500 to 262.

Mr Penrose said: “Before I was first elected as Weston’s MP, our town was plagued by drug-related crime.

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“There were too many addicts coming here and too many dodgy rehabs, so that people would drop out of their treatment and go off everyone’s radar, often staying in the town and committing crime to fund their habit.

“I highlighted these concerns repeatedly in my Cleaner Weston campaign and after a lot of hard work by rehab owners, the police and the council’s Community Safety and Drug Action Team these figures show we’re making really impressive progress. We’re winning on all fronts.

“And there’s even more good news because the remaining rehabs are more likely to be registered with the Care Quality Commission too.

“That means they’re independently inspected and checked regularly so addicts are more likely to recover and become normal members of society after their treatment.

“As I’ve always said, Weston needs fewer better rehabs. After six years of hard work, it looks like we’ve finally got them.”

This view was backed by Chief Superintendent Julian Moss of Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

He said: “Higher quality, better-managed treatment provision means better outcomes for individuals in treatment and their families. Crucially this helps to make communities safer. The latest figures are encouraging. However we recognise that there is a lot of work to be done in this area and we will not be complacent as we work together to improve the lives of all those who live, work and visit North Somerset.”