Losers outnumber winners in drug treatment budget shuffle

Changes in the funding formula for drug and alcohol services will lead to a 30% budget cut for some drug action teams over the next three years, the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse has revealed.

The Department of Health this week announced £398m funding for drug treatment in 2008-9, equalling the spending on services last year. Public health minister Dawn Primarolo said the money will now be allocated per person treated in order to “ensure that this treatment is focused where it is needed most”.

The agency, which allocates funds to the action teams and drug action partnerships, said the new system was fairer as it redirected money from areas which have benefited from a higher-than-average share. Sixty per cent of drug action teams will receive the same money or more over the next year, but nine will have their budget slashed to 70% of their current level by 2011. The big winner is Bath and North East Somerset, where the budget will rise by 78% by 2011.

The agency’s chief executive, Paul Hayes, welcomed the announcement. He said: “This revised formula for allocations, part of a process begun in 2007, provides sufficient resources to those partnerships which have historically received lower levels of funding per person.”

But drugs charity Addaction warned that there were far more losers than winners under the new system and that the lack of inflationary uplift would lead to an overall 10% cut in budget in real terms. A spokesperson said: “Services in areas where funding has been cut will be under real pressure to meet the needs of drug users. This announcement is bad news not just for drug users, but the families and communities affected by drug addiction and the chaos it brings.”

Related articles
National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse to reallocate funding

Further information
Pooled Drug Treatment Budget

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.