Residential addiction services needed in Hastings to reduce drug-related deaths

Today I have renewed my call for the provision in Hastings of residential rehabilitation services for those with alcohol and drug addictions.  This follows news that Hastings is now the area with the third highest level of drug-related deaths in the country, behind only Blackpool and Burnley.

Graph courtesy of the BBC

In Hastings there were 6.5 deaths per 100,000 residents according to statistics published this week by the Office for National Statistics.  Statistics released in 2016 reported that Hastings had the eighth highest level of drug-related deaths in England and Wales.

In 2016 I was critical of local authorities in East Sussex for failing to provide local residential rehabilitation services for those with alcohol and drug addictions.  A spokesperson for East Sussex County Council said that it was better to send people away for treatment.  That approach was prevalent in the 1980s and 90s, but experience has shown that it does not work.

Brighton and Hove used to have the highest rate but the city has two local residential rehabilitation services, one run by BHT, the other by the social care charity Care Grow Live.  The number of drug-related deaths in the city has fallen dramatically.  There are several reasons for this, not least residential rehabilitation services for local people.

So I have repeated my call for local authorities in East Sussex to set up residential rehab services.  I am happy to offer my assistance to bring this about.

I was the manager of BHT Sussex’s Addiction Services for seventeen years before becoming BHT’s chief executive in 2003.  The addiction services have a success rate more than three times the national average for positive outcomes, with two thirds of clients living alcohol and drug-free lives.

Since April 2014, 120 former clients have moved into employment (saving in benefits of c£1.5 million and income tax gains of c£0.5 million each year)

As a result of positive outcomes from BHT’s Addiction Services:

  • Over 200 drug and alcohol-related attendances at the local A&E Department prevented each year
  • 380 drug and alcohol-related visits to local GP services prevented each year
  • Over 600 prescriptions for mood-altering medication not required each year

We really need services that work, that save and change lives.  It is not right that people continue to die when we can do something to change that.

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