Risk of self harm and suicide `increased` by care standards

Suicide and self-harm among people in residential drug and
alcohol treatment facilities may increase if the proposed national
care standards are introduced in September, a leading charity has
warned, writes Sally Gillen.

The European Association for the Treatment of Addiction (EATA),
which delivers more than half of the residential treatment for
drugs services for drug addicts and alcoholics in the UK, is
concerned that some of the proposals are not suitable for drug and
alcohol rehabilitation centres.

Simon Shepherd, spokesperson for EATA, said: “The proposals
threaten to increase self-harm and suicide among young people and
undermine treatment effectiveness. People who are dependent on
drugs, for instance, are 20-30 times more likely to commit suicide
than the general population.”

The charity has raised concerns about parts of the proposals
that say all residents have separate bedrooms, bathroom facilities
that are en-suite or adjacent to residents’ bedrooms, and
houses should be broken into clusters of eight residents.

Shepherd added: “Having a room mate can help to reduce the risk.
Furthermore, it is commonly believed that room sharing enhances the
treatment process and helps to improves residents’ long-term

But a spokesperson for the department of health said that
representatives of drug and alcohol treatment facilities were
members of the reference group that advised the government during
the development of the standards.

Several consultation events aimed at seeking the views of
service users and providers, which “included strong support for
single rooms and equally strong support for shared provision,” has
also been carried out.

The spokesperson said: “We recognise that the EATA have
considerable experience in this field and their views will be taken
into account as part of the consultation process.”






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