Lack of staff may hit treatment plans

The government’s drive to get thousands of drug users into
treatment could be hampered by a shortage of staff, drugs workers
told a conference in London last week.

Most staff lacked clinical supervision, preventing them from
working effectively or safely, workers told the conference held by
the charity Drugscope.

They also pointed to the lack of managers with specialist training
in addiction, while one worker said she spent just two hours with
clients during her 36-hour working week because of the pressure of

Martin Barnes, chief executive of Drugscope, said the sector had
recruitment and retention problems.

He criticised the movement of workers around the drug sector as
they sought out better pay and conditions. Barnes said that the
National Treatment Agency’s target of increasing the numbers of
drug users into treatment by 200,000 by 2008 should be based on
“quality not quantity”.

He added that people in the criminal justice system were less
likely to receive treatment than those in the community.

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