UKAT grant in bid to tackle Rotherham’s addiction ‘crisis’

ROTHERHAM is set to receive more than £750,000 in funding to tackle the local drug and alcohol treatment crisis after being identified by the government as one of 50 local authorities with the “highest level of need”.

The borough is among the first wave of local authorities announced by the Department of Health and Social Care to get enhanced funding to improve drug and alcohol addiction treatment.

The areas chosen were picked based on each area’s local drug death rate, deprivation levels, opiate and crack cocaine prevalence, and crime rates.

According to the UK Addiction Treatment Group (UKAT), Rotherham is set to receive £688,722 in its drug strategy allocation, plus an additional £64,077 to fund inpatient detoxification.

Rotherham Council said the money would help “to provide an enhanced service” as well as “increase the capacity of support within the borough”.

Another 50 local authorities will be selected for 2023/24 and the final, “less-urgent” areas in 2024/25.

The funding was announced last month by health secretary Sajid Javid, as part of a £780 million national investment over three years, who described it as “a significant step in our commitment to rebuild the drug treatment system, save lives and level up the country”.

In 2022/23, a total of £85.7m will be issued to improve services in line with the government’s 2021 drug strategy and the recommendations from Dame Carol Black’s independent review, which described the current system as “not fit for purpose”, and warned “funding cuts have left treatment and recovery services on their knees”.

Nuno Albuquerque, consultant treatment lead for UKAT, said: “The extra, immediate funding for drug and alcohol treatment services in Rotherham is of course welcomed, but we hope it isn’t all smoke and mirrors.

“This money needs to be spent cleverly by the council here and with the addict in mind.

“There’s no point spending money to detoxify people from drugs only to leave them on their own straight after.

“Their body will no longer be addicted, but their minds will be.

“Consistent and immediate therapy and rehabilitation is required to ensure that this extra funding isn’t wasted and, most importantly, to give the person in treatment the best chance of a life in recovery.”

RMBC’s cabinet member for public health, Cllr David Roche, said: “Part of the Council’s Plan is to support residents to live better, healthier lives.

“Funding such as the Drugs and Alcohol Grant 2022-2025 will help the council and its partners to provide an enhanced service that will help towards reducing harm and increase the capacity of support within the borough.

“Unfortunately, there are many lives affected by the misuse of drugs and alcohol across the UK, including those struggling with dependence on both alcohol and drugs, their families, their children, and their friends and colleagues.

“There are already services in Rotherham which can support you or your loved ones to deal with substance problems, and we will be working with a range of partners to devise plans for the additional funding that has been allocated.”