The lack of residential rehabilitation centres could see more young
people with substance misuse problems ending up in custody,
charities have warned.
Over the past 12 months, adolescent units at Kenyon House, Greater
Manchester, Promis in London and one unit operated by Middlegate in
Lincolnshire were closed, leaving “too few” residential options for
Martin Barnes, chief executive of Drugscope, raised concerns over
the closures at a conference this week, saying they showed how the
government’s drug strategy was “not pulling in the same direction”
as young people’s services.
Barnes cited the high cost of residential rehabilitation services
as a reason for the decline in referrals, with the cost of a bed
ranging between £2,000 and £5,000 a week.
One service provider warned that residential rehabilitation centres
for under-16s were “a dying breed” and said cost “should not be a
factor in providing the best treatment”.
Another drugs worker predicted that a further decline in
residential rehabilitation would lead to young people ending up in
custody because of lack of support.
Delegates at the Drugscope conference in London also raised
concerns that young people with substance misuse problems would not
be “top of the list” in the new children’s trust
Dr Chris Hanvey, director of operations at Barnardo’s, said there
was a need to ensure the Every Child Matters agenda would be “at
the root” of creating child-centred services for young people with
substance misuse problems.