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Nottinghamshire County Council to invest in detoxification beds to tackle 'absolute destruction' of alcohol and drug misuse

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Nottinghamshire County Council will invest in ‘detoxification beds’ and employ new staff as part of a drive to tackle what has been described as absolute destruction of drug and alcohol misuse issues.

Council figures estimate at least 172,725 residents in Nottinghamshire could benefit from substance misuse intervention, with an estimated 4,436 people dependent on opioids including heroin and or crack cocaine.

The data also estimates about 131,011 adults drink harmful levels of alcohol each week, with 21,632 people dependent on alcohol across the county.

Nottinghamshire County Council will invest in ‘detoxification beds’ and employ new staff as part of a drive to tackle drug and alcohol misuse issues.
Nottinghamshire County Council will invest in ‘detoxification beds’ and employ new staff as part of a drive to tackle drug and alcohol misuse issues.

These figures, the authority added, were likely to be under-estimates due to what it called the hidden nature of some substance misuse.

The data was published by the council as it responded to the government’s ten-year drugs strategy named From Harm to Hope, published by ministers in December last year.

The strategy, discussed by the council’s adult social care and public health committee on Monday, sets out a series of objectives to be implemented nationwide to target drug and alcohol addiction.

The national strategy aims to cut off the supply of drugs by criminal gangs and give people affected by drug addiction a route to a productive and drug-free life.

It will prioritise breaking drug supply lines, delivering a ‘world-class’ treatment and recovery system and achieving a generational shift in demand for drugs.

It is hoped that 54,500 new treatment places will be created nationally over the coming decade, alongside 21,000 new places for opiate and crack users.

A treatment place would also be created for every offender with an addiction, with 30,000 further places for non-opiate and alcohol users.

And the strategy, if implemented successfully, would lead to 24,000 more people in long-term recovery from substance dependence alongside 5,000 more young people in treatment within ten years.

This will come alongside the recruitment of 800 more medical and mental health professionals, 950 more drug and alcohol criminal justice workers, and sufficient commissioning and co-ordination capacity at local authorities.

Councils will be expected to develop a strategic board to tackle the issue, increase the number of local community treatments, provide additional detoxification places and produce one-year and three-year plans.

They will be supported via two additional government grants to act on Whitehall objectives, named the Supplemental Substance Misuse Treatment and Recovery Grant, and the Inpatient Detoxification Grant.

To be eligible for the latter grant, however, councils must be part of a regional or sub-regional group.

Nottinghamshire County Council will now lead an East Midlands consortium made up of upper-tier councils in the region, with the adult social care and public health committee approving the plan on Monday.

The committee also approved creating two new roles in the public health department, costing £115,631 per year for three years, to expand the number of treatment places for adults and young people in Nottinghamshire.

And the authority will procure and commission a contract for inpatient detoxification beds on behalf of the East Midlands councils consortium.

Councillor Matt Barney, who represents Leake and Ruddington, welcomed the report during Monday’s meeting.

He said: “In my own life I’ve had two friends who have been addicted to opioids – one who sadly lost that battle.

“We’re talking about absolute destruction and despair, and the ramifications of that to the wider family context, to communities, to the drug and criminal gangs.

“There is optimism in this, bringing in what’s needed critically to deliver substantial change.”

Sarah Quilty, the council’s senior public health and commissioning manager, told the committee the authority had an additional £5.6m to put into treatment and inpatient detoxification.

This is dependent on the council being able to continue its own spending levels on the issue of no less than in the 2020/21 financial year, when investment stood at £8.9m.

She said the council was now awaiting further guidance from the government on the issue, with a further council report to be published in the coming months.

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