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Addicts being forced to go 'cold turkey' claims; warning as council treatment budget is halved.

Byline: CHRIS KNIGHT Reporter christopher.knight@trinitymirror.com @C_M_Knight

DRUG and alcohol addicts are being forced to go 'cold turkey' after a Tyneside authority slashed its recovery budget in HALF, experts have warned.

Gateshead Council has cut their residential detoxification budget for the borough by PS100,000 from 2013 to its current level of PS102,136.

The shocking statistics came to light following a freedom of information (FOI) request from United Kingdom Addiction Treatment (UKAT) - an addiction treatment firm operating nationally - to councils.

Nobody serious on drugs should to go 'at Eytan The drop places Gateshead Council in the top 10 councils nationally for spending the least on a treatment service for drug and alcohol addicts.

Collectively, councils which receive grants from Public Health England chopped their spend on detoxification by PS3.16m in just four years from PS12.92m in 2013, according to UKAT's data.

with a dependency or alcohol ever be left cold turkey' home Alexander Speaking on the FOI results, UKAT founder Eytan Alexander said: "Nobody with a serious dependency on drugs or alcohol should ever be left to go 'cold turkey' at home. "The dangers of this must surely outweigh the desire to save money. Recovery is a journey - there are no shortcuts.

"Slashing budgets threatens not only the health but the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in society.

"It's a false economy as the burden is simply transferred on to an already stretched NHS which is facing a winter crisis."

The sudden withdrawal from drugs and alcohol, a process commonly known as going 'cold turkey', can be dangerous.

Addicts depriving themselves of the substances they have grown dependent upon could suffer potentially fatal seizures, and 'cold turkey' for long-term alcoholics could cause life-threatening delirium tremens.

For Gateshead Council, the budget for total substance misuse as a whole has dropped dramatically from PS5.9m in 2013 to the current level of PS3.7m.

But the authority has denied claims they are forcing addicts to go 'cold turkey', indicating the closure of the local residential detox centre Huntercombe prompted a move to a more 'community-based' delivery of treatment.

This process, delivered by the council's specialist partners, typically involves recovering addicts visiting centres for counselling and support while the level of their medication is gradually reduced. Alice Wiseman, director for public health at Gateshead Council, said: "After our local residential detox centre closed, we needed to look again at the whole issue of detoxification and as a result we moved to a more community-based model.

"Since doing so, we have seen some improvement in the outcomes of our treatment programmes.

"As we are now carrying out detoxification quite successfully in the community, we have seen a corresponding drop in demand for residential detox.

"We have not abandoned residential detoxification, and certainly not for financial reasons.

"In fact, we continue to fund residential detoxification where necessary, but we do so now on a case-bycase basis."

freedom of information request from Addiction - an to least service alcohol the a on ever 'col"Nobody with a serious dependency on drugs or alcohol should ever be left to go 'cold turkey' at home. Eytan Alexander
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 30, 2017
Words:528
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