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June 28, 2019
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ADPH Statement on ‘Councils blamed for jump in drink and drug deaths’ article

On 23 June, The Times published the above titled article, blaming councils for a rise in drug and alcohol related deaths.

The ADPH are very disappointed in this reporting, which oversimplifies a complex issue and fails to take into account the many and varying factors that interplay in addressing drug and alcohol misuse.

Further, the use of UK Addiction Treatment (UKAT) - a private residential rehabilitation treatment provider – as a key source is disingenuous, having, as UKAT does, a financial interest in promoting its services.

ADPH Vice-President Jim McManus said:

“It is false to say the increase in Drug Related Deaths have been due to commissioning changes by councils. There have been no commissioning changes in Scotland or Wales and they have both seen a sharp increase in deaths, making clear this is a UK wide trend.

A series of government reports has concluded that the rise in drug related deaths is most likely caused by a combination of factors, chiefly an ageing population of opiate users, with multiple illnesses and associated issues, and an increase in the availability of high potency heroin. Collective Voice, the national alliance of drug and alcohol treatment charities – who would have been a better source to speak to - has agreed with this analysis.

Councils have continued to deliver high quality and innovative services, including drug and alcohol programmes, against a backdrop of public health funding cuts. Looking ahead, if we want to see more, even stronger services, the spending review needs to deliver more investment in public health.”

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