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Cuts to addiction services are a false economy

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: (Published 05 June 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2704
  1. Colin Drummond, professor of addictions psychiatry
  1. Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience, King’s College London
  1. colin.drummond{at}

“Savings” in specialist services are increasing pressure elsewhere in the NHS, says Colin Drummond

Shocking images of drug users sprawled unconscious or standing statue-like in an intoxicated state have begun to surface in the media recently.1

Meanwhile deaths involving heroin and/or morphine have more than doubled since addiction services were transferred from NHS control to local authorities in 2012, and are now at the highest level on record.2 Last year there were more than 15 000 drug related, and over 1 million alcohol related, hospital admissions.3

The need for better access to addiction services is clear.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has three solutions: Sustainability and Transformation Plans must ensure a return to joint addiction service commissioning between the NHS and local authorities; there must be at least 60 addictions psychiatrist training posts in England; and there can …

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