Islington Council spending £3.9million less on drug and alcohol treatment than in 2013

PUBLISHED: 15:42 30 May 2018 | UPDATED: 08:46 31 May 2018

Islington Town Hall. Picture: Top Drawer Sausage (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Islington Town Hall. Picture: Top Drawer Sausage (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Top Drawer Sausage (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Islington Council is spending £3.9million less on drug and alcohol treatment services than it was five years ago, new figures reveal.

Leading addiction treatment firm UK Addiction Treatment (Ukat) asked all local authorities across the country for their budgets for the vital services.

And in Islington the freedom of information request found the town hall was spending 43 per cent less than in 2013.

Back then the budget for drug and alcohol treatment was £9million, this year it is £5.1m.

The number has also dropped when worked out as a percentage of the public health grant given to councils. In 2013 the budget was 36pc of the overall pot, this year it is 20pc.

Unsurprisingly, the council has had to contend with huge cuts to its public health grant during that time.

Drug related deaths in Islington have also risen by 37pc during that time, from 27 to 37. The town hall says that is in line with a national rise, but Ukat says the link is obvious.

Founder Eytan Alexander said: “Addiction is a debilitating psychiatric disorder. What those suffering need are far better availability and access to government funded rehabilitation and detoxification centres with earlier interventions, not a slash in budget allocation because ultimately, when people engage in treatment, the whole community benefits.

“It’s difficult for Islington Council to deny the link between the drop off in budget allocation for drug and alcohol treatment services and the rise in drug-related deaths, and we hope for better spending decisions next year in order to help those most vulnerable in society.”

The town hall says the scaled back services had to be made due to the cuts, and have come through reducing overheads and duplication. For example, service users now don’t go through multiple assessments when accessing different services, a new model developed alongside service users, carers and partner services.

Health chief Cllr Janet Burgess said: “The council is dedicated to helping people live healthy lives, and providing good-quality drug and alcohol misuse services is a vital part of that commitment.

“While the council is facing significant cuts in funding, we are committed to ensuring there is no reduction in the quality of the service and will have processes in place to ensure service users are happy with the range and quality of service.”

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