Drug treatment strategy sets out targets for improved services

The government published its drug treatment effectiveness strategy
today aiming to give drug users faster access to treatment and more
social care services, writes Maria Ahmed.
The National Treatment Agency Strategy sets out a target of getting
200,000 problematic drugs users in contact with treatment services
by March 2008, with fast-tracking for priority groups such as
pregnant users and offenders.

Services will also be required to get 85 per cent of drug users
into their first treatment session within three weeks.
The strategy also sets out targets for retaining around two-thirds
of service users in treatment for at least 12 weeks and for
providing all clients with written care plans by March 2008.
Public health minister Caroline Flint pledged today that the
government would make drug treatment more of a priority within the
NHS by ensuring that local delivery plans focused on reducing the
number of people dropping out early.
In her first speech on drugs since taking up her new post at the
Department of Health, she said:  “This strategy is vital in
helping to provide a life away from drugs for the user and a new
future for families, friends and communities affected by the impact
of drug addiction.”
Martin Barnes, chief executive of drugs charity DrugScope said:
“The ultimate test for the national drug strategy will be
whether we see a significant and sustained reduction in the number
of problematic drug users and a fall in related costs such as
crime. Improved treatment has a role to play but the
‘up-stream’ problems that can lead to drug use –
such as poverty, lack of opportunity and family stress – also
need to be tackled.”


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