Big rise in misusers seeking treatment

The number of drug misusers in contact with treatment services has risen by 89 per cent over the past seven years, according to the National Treatment Agency.

More than 160,000 people received specialist drug treatment in England during 2004-5, compared with 85,000 in 1998-9. The agency aims to double the number of drug misusers in treatment by 2008 from the 1998-9 baseline.

Although welcoming the figures, drug agencies raised concerns over staffing in treatment services and said there needed to be more investment in aftercare services and support to keep people in treatment.

Martin Barnes, chief executive of DrugScope, pointed to a shortage  of staff working with young people, ethnic minorities and people with mental health problems.

He added: “The government and the NTA recognise that there is a need to improve the quality of treatment and not just increase numbers in treatment.”

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