Figures Reveal High Cost Of ‘Curing’ Drug Addicts

A multi-million cash injection for a drugs rehabilitation programme in England has produced only a handful of success stories, it was revealed today.

Despite a £131m boost in funding for the National Treatment Agency last year, the numbers emerging from treatment free of addiction has barely changed from 5,759 three years ago to 5,829 last year.

This amounts to an increase of only 70 more people, a hefty price tag of £1.85m for each addict to get clean.

But the Department of Health claimed that the figures distorted the true picture and it was unrealistic to expect immediate results as successful treatment takes from five and seven years.
“Drug treatment works, it saves lives and it saves money. Every £1 spent on drug treatment saves £9.50 to the rest of society,” said a spokeswoman. She added that more than 195,000 people were now accessing drug treatment programmes, 130% more than in 1998, and that the programme was making progress.

However, according to a BBC analysis, the proportion of users emerging drug-free after treatment is actually falling, from 3.5% three years ago to less than 3% now, despite a 50% increase in funding, from £253m in 2004-05 to £384m last year.