Brent Council spending £1.8m less on drug and alcohol services than in 2013

PUBLISHED: 18:21 08 June 2018 | UPDATED: 10:44 19 June 2018

A model poses with a teaspoon and drug paraphernalia. Picture: Paul Faith/PA Archive

A model poses with a teaspoon and drug paraphernalia. Picture: Paul Faith/PA Archive

PA Archive/PA Images

Brent Council is spending £1.8million less on drug and alcohol treatment services than it was five years ago, new figures reveal.

Private rehab firm UK Addiction Treatment (Ukat) has asked all local authorities across the country for their budgets for the vital services.

In Brent the freedom of information request found the town hall was spending 30 per cent less than it was in 2013. Back then the budget was £5.8m, compared with this year’s pot of £4.06m.

The number has also dropped when worked out as a percentage of the public health grant given to councils. In 2013 the budget made up 32pc of the whole grant; this year it is just 19pc.

Unsurprisingly, the council has had to contend with huge cuts to its public health grant during that time.

Drug-related deaths have also risen in Islington by 35pc, from 20 in 2013 to 27 last year, according to the Office of National Statistics.

Ukat founder Eytan Alexander said: “What those suffering with addiction need are far better availability and access to government funded rehabilitation and detoxification centres with earlier interventions, not a slash in budget allocation.

“It’s difficult for Brent to deny the link between the drop off in budget and the rise in drug related deaths, and we hope for better spending decisions next year in order to help those most vulnerable in society.”

The council said part of the decline was due to a new integrated service that cut costs but increased frontline staff, and pointed out it was still funding the B3 service which offers support services.

Brent’s health chief Cllr Krupesh Hirani said the council “prided itself” on having one of the top substance misuse services in the country. He said: “The reduction of funding has affected all boroughs, but in Brent we are committed to ensuring a treatment place for anybody who needs it, and they are seen as early as possible.

“This is evidenced by the success of our service where more people successfully complete treatment for heroin and crack cocaine than any other London borough.

“The rise in drug related deaths nationally is of concern to all and we work with our residents tirelessly to avoid this.”

Check out Ukat’s work here.

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