‘ The only way to look at the public purse beyond individual organisations is to take a holistic view of funding and cost savings from the source – central government .’
health , nutrition , resilience , financial planning , education , work experience and future security in supported housing .
During this time , residents receive one-to-one and group support at home and in one of our centres ( funded charitably ), support with future rent deposit savings , links to our local FE college and university for education and skills programmes , and the local recovery community and employment or voluntary opportunities through a network of businesses and agencies . This ultimately affords the client the benefits of independent living , employment , contributing via taxation , building a pension , and re-joining the wider community .
The costs of the person remaining in active addiction were calculated following extensive research by our SIB bid support partners ; Bates Wells , a UK top 100 law firm , Ethos , an organisational development consulting firm , and the office for the West Midlands police and crime commissioner . Their figures are already in the public domain and calculated by their lead policy officer for substance misuse . Unit cost analyses were derived from standard data sources including Manchester ’ s New Economy database . ( See box right .)
The savings analysis has been prepared on a prudent basis , with some items including costs of alternative health interventions and volume of police involvements being potentially much higher . Savings increase in parallel with the client ’ s physical and mental recovery – living independently , working , paying taxes , and contributing to society .
So clearly , the cost of residential treatment is not high – indeed it saves huge amounts of public money . However , country-wide agencies such as DWP and benefits agencies , criminal justice and police , NHS , GP services and the Department of Health and Social Care work independently of each other are not concerned with each other ’ s budgets or savings . The only way to look at the public purse beyond individual organisations is to take a holistic view of funding and cost savings from the source – central government .
On 8 July this year , the government announced the formation of the Joint Combatting Drugs Unit that will ‘ bring together multiple government departments – including the Department of Health and Social Care , Home Office , Ministry of Housing , Communities and Local Government , Department for Work and Pensions , Department for Education and Ministry of Justice – to help tackle drugs misuse across society ’. This will make it perfectly placed to manage and allocate ring-fenced budgets for targeted and effective drug treatment , whilst realising and quantifying the
Costs calculated by SIB bid support partners ; Bates Wells , Ethos , and the office for the West Midlands police and crime commissioner
Costs based on the following assumptions :
One person in active addiction over the same period relating to the following service areas alone :
• Use of the health service and GP
• Drug-related death data
• Social care costs and benefits
• Drug-related crime There are obviously other areas that could have increased these figures if included , for example , use of community drug services . Please note that these figures are specific to West Midlands .
Cost of active addiction per person over 2.5 years = minimum £ 155,800
Cost of active addiction per year = minimum £ 62,320
Cost savings per person in residential treatment over 2.5 years = minimum £ 109,760
( this would fund an additional 2.4 people to enter the residential treatment programme )
Cost savings per person in residential treatment per year = minimum £ 43,904
savings and expenditure associated with treatment decisions and outcomes .
These figures also have implications for community drug services providing home-based and local community interventions while referring a very small percentage for detoxification and rehab . During the times individuals are engaged with these services , they can be incurring many of the costs detailed above .
Community services and residential facilities should be working far more closely together to address and manage these issues through more targeted treatment that supports the health of the individual , including more referrals to residential treatment and consequently reduce the associated costs of continued addiction .
With such significant potential savings available , these need to be monitored together with the effectiveness of residential treatment over this longer time frame . Rehabs would welcome this scrutiny and recognise that success rates are not close to 100 per cent . We deal with a relapsing condition but aim for a completion rate of over 65 per cent – ANA Treatment Centres average completion rates for the last five years are 73.6 per cent .
So when fact checked , the cost of residential treatment is not expensive . Indeed , with the ability to support clients to regain their health and exit treatment and the benefits cycle completely , it provides vast cost savings to UK PLC . But to realise these savings , budget allocation for residential treatment needs to be centralised , monitored and ring-fenced to avoid the internal financial focus of individual budget holding agencies .
Doing so will allow us all to focus on the health of those in need of help for addiction and on the wellbeing of communities in general across the UK , drastically reducing drug-related deaths whilst redirecting savings towards other people in need .
It is also high time that residential services , which have struggled for decades to survive and provide services due to poor levels of funding and protracted tendering processes , are afforded the recognition that they so richly deserve .
Richard Johnson is CEO of ANA Treatment Centres , Portsmouth , co-chair of The Recovery Group UK and founder of the Choices group of rehabs . rjohnson @ anatreatmentcentres . com
WWW . DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS . COM OCTOBER 2021 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • 17