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Drug Treatment is Improving Lives

Written on: October 13th, 2008 By:

Sir, A debate about the effectiveness of drug rehab treatment is welcome but should be rooted in the evidence and get its facts straight first. Melanie Reid (“Say no, no, no to the rehab industry”, Oct 3) makes dismissive reference to a “drug rehabilitation industry employing 150,000 people” — in fact, the number of people delivering drug and alcohol treatment services in England is about 10,000.

To claim that “harm reduction” has “failed spectacularly” ignores the very real benefits of the approach first initiated under Margaret Thatcher — not least one of the lowest rates of HIV infection among injecting drug users anywhere in the world. Methadone enables many drug users to stabilise their lives, a vital first step in the journey towards ultimately becoming drug free.

SouthCoast Recovery supports calls for better access to residential drug rehab services, but notes that one size does not fit all. And whether drug users are treated in the community or in rehab, all can come to nought if the factors which contribute to drug misuse or relapse — poor housing, lack of training or employment opportunities, poor healthcare — are not addressed as part of the package.

While acknowledging where improvements need to be made, the investment in drug treatment continues to improve the lives of tens of thousands of problem drug users and their families.


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