Deaths in treatment up by almost 30 per cent
Almost 3,800 people died while in contact with drug and alcohol treatment services in 2020-21 , according to statistics from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities ( OHID ), a 27 per cent increase on last year .
While all substance groups saw a decrease in deaths in treatment last year , this year there were increases of 20 per cent in the opiate group and 36 per cent in the non-opiate only group . The alcohol-only group also saw an increase of 44 per cent , while the non-opiate and alcohol group recorded an increase of 37 per cent .
Much of this will have been the result of the pandemic , says OHID , with fewer people able to access inpatient detox , reductions in treatment for BBVs and liver disease , changes to lifestyle and COVID itself .
There were 275,896 adults in treatment services in 2020-21 , a slight increase on the previous year – more than half were in treatment for problems with opiates , and almost 30 per cent for alcohol . Unlike previous years there was a fall in the number of people entering treatment for crack cocaine , used either with or without opiates ,
Drug Group Female Male TOTAL Opiate 38,904 ( 28 %) 101,959 ( 72 %) 140,863
Non-opiate only 8,915 ( 32 %) 18,690 ( 68 %) 27,605 Non-opiate and alcohol 9,220 ( 30 %) 21,468 ( 70 %) 30,688
Alcohol only 32,486 ( 42 %) 44,254 ( 58 %) 76,740
TOTAL 89,525 ( 32 %) 186,371 ( 68 %) 275,896 Breakdown of people in treatment by sex and substance group – www . gov . uk
with the number at its lowest level since 2016-17 .
‘ People facing drug or alcohol addiction , already a vulnerable and oftentimes isolated group , had to endure a global pandemic that radically altered how they could receive support ,’ said Collective Voice .
‘ In the early phase of the pandemic the treatment system had to adapt almost overnight to new agile ways to deliver core interventions . And despite the heroic efforts of workers , managers , commissioners and peers , many services were forced to temporarily close their doors .
The pandemic also prevented those with drug and alcohol problems from accessing the wider array of ‘ safety-net ’ services including primary , secondary and acute care .’ However , the reasons behind the long-term erosion of the field ’ s capacity to support people in need were ‘ plain to see in Dame Carol Black ’ s recent review ’, Collective Voice stated . ‘ This recent rise in deaths makes only more important the announcement of the crossgovernment drug strategy in the coming weeks .’
Adult substance misuse treatment statistics 2020 to 2021 at www . gov . uk
People needing residential being failed , says Phoenix
THE SYSTEM that enables access to residential rehab ‘ isn ’ t working ’, says a new report from Phoenix Futures . Although residential treatment is now being delivered to a higher standard than ever before – allowing people with complex needs to lead ‘ happy and healthy lives ’ – fewer people are able to access it , says Making rehab work .
Thousands more people every year need to be able to access residential services , states the document , which challenges preconceptions about residential being poor value for money . The causes of the ‘ dramatic ’ decline in access over the last decade are complicated , it says , and while addressing funding and commissioning is vital , commitment is also needed from a range of bodies including providers and central and local government .
The report ’ s findings are based on the input of people who use a range of services and those with lived experience of residential , alongside commissioners and providers . The report ‘ does not advocate for one treatment approach ’, says Phoenix , and calls for ‘ appropriately funded ’ community-based treatment alongside improved access to residential . ‘ Residential treatment is a place of safety for some of the most traumatised and socially deprived people in society ,’ writes chief executive Karen Biggs .
‘ When people cannot find safety and security where they live , residential treatment offers them that place of safety , structure , and mix of interventions to build a better life away from imminent danger and risk . However , in England it has become increasingly difficult , and even impossible in some regions , to access this specialist life-saving treatment unless you can afford to pay for it privately . With access to residential treatment at a record low , and drug and alcohol harms at a record high , this is an issue we can ’ t ignore .’ Doc at www . phoenix-futures . org . uk
UNODC warns of ‘ flood ’ of Afghan heroin
THIS YEAR ’ S OPIUM HARVEST in Afghanistan is up by eight per cent compared to 2020 , to almost 7,000 tons , which could lead to global drug markets being ‘ flooded with around 320 tons of pure heroin ’, says UNODC .
Afghanistan accounted for 85 per cent of global opium production last year and now supplies eight out of ten of all opiate users worldwide , says The drug situation in Afghanistan 2021 – latest findings and emerging threats . While this year ’ s income from Afghan opiates is estimated to be between US $ 1.8bn and $ 2.7bn inside the country , ‘ much larger ’ profits are being made through international supply chains .
The uncertain political situation in Afghanistan since the withdrawal of US troops and the Taliban ’ s takeover earlier this year is driving up prices , which almost doubled between May and August . This is the fifth year in row to see production ‘ at historic highs of more than 6,000 tons ’ but higher prices could be a strong incentive for farmers to cultivate even more , leading to a far bigger harvest next year .
Methamphetamine production is also ‘ sharply ’ increasing in the country , the report adds . ‘ Afghanistan is in a state of constant crisis , with a precarious economy and wider instability enabling illicit markets ’, says the document , with up to 97 per cent of the population now at risk of sinking below the poverty line . Report at www . unodc . org
4 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • DECEMBER 2021 – JANUARY 2022 WWW . DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS . COM