Many of those struggling with addiction shy away from seeking treatment because of the perceived costs of addiction services. A majority need intensive levels of care due to the severity of their addictions. Unfortunately, most addiction treatment programs are quite costly, prompting many to put treatment on hold.
The UK government’s decision to direct more funds towards addiction services has been positively received, as it seeks to lower addiction treatment costs and bring positive changes to the economy. Is getting treatment for addiction in the UK getting easier?
In December 2021, the UK government announced a £780 million investment towards overhauling the nation’s addiction treatment system. This funding, which was long overdue, represents the largest amount the government has ever allocated in the fight against addiction.
Following the increase in funding, it’s estimated that the total spending on addiction services in the next three years will reach over £3 billion.
The current addiction crisis is one of the most severe health crisis the UK has ever faced. The government had two options left — to either increase spending on addiction services or continue dealing with the adverse outcomes of under-investing.
By increasing spending, the government has proven how serious it is about correcting its mistakes of under-funding the nation’s addiction treatment system for close to a decade. A huge percentage of this investment will go into making addiction treatment more effective and increasing the capacity of the addiction treatment system in the UK.
This Funding Favours Those with a Deep Desire to Enter Treatment
This significant funding marks a new era for addiction treatment and recovery across the UK. The government’s decision came a few months after several parliamentarians drafted a report to the Prime Minister, pushing for major investment in addiction treatment.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) reported that the £780 million worth of funding will facilitate the establishment of a world-class addiction treatment system in the UK, with priority given to the areas that have acute addiction challenges.
These areas will be the first to receive funds for the sake of the vulnerable individuals who need quality substance abuse treatment as soon as possible.
Achieving and sustaining freedom from substance dependence requires individuals to receive high-quality addiction treatment, hence the need to allocate more funds to fight the widespread addiction problem.
- Strengthening the quality of addiction treatment services to attain significant recovery rates. This includes increasing the number of detoxification beds and purchasing more life-saving overdose medication, among many others.
- Expanding the addiction treatment workforce to ensure that there are enough addiction treatment personnel to meet the rising demand for addiction services
- Improving addiction treatment services in the prison facilities across the UK so that offenders actively engage in addiction treatment
- Offering financial support to local addiction treatment centers in order to sustain their operations. Through this support, addiction treatment costs will be lower and more affordable to those who desperately want to enter treatment.
The investment will certainly make a real difference to not only individuals in need of substance abuse treatment, but also to the communities they live in.
The UK government decided to do more about the addiction crisis, as it is straining the UK economy.
Premature deaths, unemployment, rising healthcare spending, and high law enforcement costs are among the costly outcomes of addiction to the nation’s economy.
With addiction comes productivity losses and quality of life adjustments that destabilise the economy and hinder the nation from levelling up.
Making heavy investments towards addiction services now will undoubtedly have positive impacts in the years to come. The government hopes that many struggling with addiction will get their lives back on track.
Public Health England also revealed these economic benefits of investing in addiction services:
- For every £1 invested in alcohol addiction treatment, there’s a £3 return on investment.
- For every £1 invested in substance addiction treatment, there’s a £4 return on investment.
It’s impressive to see the government making great strides in enhancing the delivery of addiction services. This renewed focus will lead to remarkable progress in the war against addiction.
As much as the additional funding places a lot of pressure on the public service budget, the long terms costs of not prioritising addiction services funding will be far greater than the current funds allocated. The investment will improve public health and safety, and take the economy to new levels.