Drug users refused residential care

Drug misusers are being turned away from residential units
because of pressure on community care budgets, says a new

A study by the Standing Conference on Drug Abuse published this
week found almost one-third of drug misusers referred for community
care failed to obtain a residential place. The research also
reveals widely differing levels of community care assessments and
funding procedures for drug misusers across local authorities.

Drug services providers reported tightened eligibility criteria,
reduced length of treatment programmes and delays in community care
assessments, including the ‘fast track’ procedures.

One local authority had a wait of three months for a fast-track
assessment, which should be completed within five days.

SCODA’s chief executive Roger Howard said: ‘Despite the recent
increase in money to tackle drugs, the government has not
channelled any resources through local authorities, where services
are reporting most pressure and where treatment can offer so many

‘We recognise the resources may not be there but we want proper

He urged social services departments to look at using community
drug teams or specialist organisations to undertake

He cited one local authority which had refused to provide
community care services for people leaving prison, saying that the
clients had to prove themselves by living in the community for
three months without returning to prison before it would perform

Howard wants the Association of Directors of Social Services to
encourage departments to place a higher priority on drugs

Salford social services director Peter Hewitt, speaking on
behalf of the ADSS, backed SCODA’s call for a major overhaul of
priorities for drug misusers.

‘Social services departments have more to do in understanding
and assessing the particular needs of drug users, but are operating
under huge constraints because of underfunding across the board,’
he said.

‘We must work together with drug services to make sure that
limited resources go to those who need them most.’

· Through the eye of a needle from SCODA, 0171 928

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