The Drugs Programme: Does it Work?

24 August 2010, 11:44 | Updated: 24 August 2010, 12:11

Having spent a year investigating the way problematic drug users are treated, a group at Northamptonshire County Council now says it has serious concerns with the system.

The Scrutiny Committee is meeting on Wednesday [25th] where it will discuss the findings of a detailed study into serious drug users and the services they are offered.

It claims that the system is focused on providing drug substitutes, like methadone, to prevent users from lapsing into more serious problems - instead of helping drive addicts towards rehabilitation back into mainstream society.

It also points to serious flaws in the strategic leadership of the county's Drug and Alcohol Action Team [DAAT] which has a yearly budget of almost £9million.   It states there was no "strategic level challenge by partners in the DAAT as to the effectiveness of drugs rehabilitation treatment being commissioned by DAAT."

You can read the full report by clicking here

The report's author, Councillor Mark Bullock, said:"In my thirteen years as a county councillor, this scrutiny review has been the single most difficult topic that I have been involved in reviewing.  I suppose that ought not to be a surprise because problematic drug usage has blighted many individuals and their families. lives for many years."

He added: "There are many people working very professionally and diligently in the arena of drugs rehabilitation.
This cannot disguise the fact that the same evidence demonstrated that services are focussed and targeted on maintaining and stabilising people in their current state and stopping them regressing further - not on rehabilitating people back to sustainable integration into mainstream society. Tthe success of rehabilitation services must be measured in terms of the number of people that are rehabilitated - and services must be urgently re-engineered."

The study's found there are 3,600 problem drug users in the county on things like cocaine and heroin with around half of those on some kind of treatment programme and 40% of them living in Northampton.