Baroness Masham of Ilton – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton on 2015-12-08.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of reductions in funding to local public health budgets on the outcomes achieved by drug treatment services.

Lord Prior of Brampton

A table which shows trend data from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System for individuals completing treatment free of dependence for the years 2009-10 to 2014-15 is attached.

For the first time in 2014-15, the annual report brought together information on people receiving specialist interventions for drugs and alcohol. Many people experience problems with both substances and receive interventions for both, and drugs and alcohol services are often commissioned together. The figures therefore include the substance group ‘non-opiate and alcohol’, as well as those seeking services for drug-only related dependency, to ensure all individuals leaving treatment drug-free are captured. This new methodology has been applied to the years prior to 2014-15 to ensure comparable figures.

We have provided both the total numbers leaving treatment successfully free of dependence as well as the numbers that left successfully not using drugs or alcohol at the time of exit (which is a subset of the larger number), as some individuals may, for example, be occasionally drinking when they are discharged but it will have been judged by a clinician to be non-problematic and not dependent use and that therefore they no longer require treatment.

Public Health England will continue to support local authorities to provide effective and efficient drug treatment services, by providing bespoke data to assist the joint strategic needs assessment and to show the effectiveness of the local treatment system, as well as value for money tools, topical briefings, advice on good practice and on the benefits of investing in alcohol and drug treatment. Across the country, councils have already begun to develop new ways to deliver public health, showing that it is possible to deliver better health for local people and also better value for the taxpayer.

The evidence-base for the effectiveness of drug treatment is robust, with United Kingdom and international evidence showing that treatment provides value for money, improves public health and reduces crime.

The Building Recovery strand of the Government’s Drug Strategy recognises the importance of non-medical interventions, such as recovery networks, employment, housing, family support and reduced re-offending, in helping people recover and to participate more fully in society. Every person in structured drug treatment has a personal care plan based on an assessment of their needs, which maps out the steps they will take towards recovery. It covers their drug use, health, social functioning, criminal involvement, housing, employment and any other barrier to recovery.