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Drug services slow

30th October 2007

Figures published by the National Treatment Agency have revealed "slow progress" in the numbers of addicts in England who have stopped using drugs.

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The amount spent by the government rose by £130m from 2004-5 to 2006, but the number of people who stopped using drugs went up by only 70 - from 5,759 in 2004 to 5,829 in 2006.

BBC home editor Mark Easton stated that the statistics showed that the number of people who stopped taking drugs after treatment had actually decreased from 3.5% in 2004 to less than 3% now.

The figures also showed that the cost of getting people to stop taking drugs during this period was £1.85m per person.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said that there had been a huge increase in the numbers of people going into treatment centres over the last couple of years.

"We have made important progress in recent years. There are now over 195,000 people accessing drug treatment every year, 130% more than in 1998."

Mr Easton said that the government had put together a 10-year strategy which was due to be launched in April 2008. He said this was "about getting more people off drugs".

The National Treatment Agency's survey of nearly 200 clinics in England found addicts were given extra methadone or other drugs in return for behaving well and providing clean urine samples.




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