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AUDIT ON DRUGS:HELP MUST IMPROVE

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Drug treatment services need to be improved if the cycle of dependency and drug-related crime is to be broken, acco...
Drug treatment services need to be improved if the cycle of dependency and drug-related crime is to be broken, according to an Audit Commission report.

The commission found local services remain thin on the ground and the quality of support can often be poor despite government pledges to improve provision.

Treatment services are limited, have lengthy waiting lists and are overworked, according to the report.

It said problems stem from historic under investment, different views about what works and low levels of staff training.

Audit Commission controller Sir Andrew Foster said: 'We know treatment services can help, but the current pattern of service means too many drug misusers still struggle to get the help they need.'

The report, Changing habits, acknowledged the improvements made so far, such as the setting up of the National Treatment Agency to drive up standards.

But Roger Howard, chief executive of drug research and policy charity DrugScope, said the government still had to do more.

He added: 'Given the substantial difficulties highlighted by the commission, we have to question whether the welcome and long overdue new money for the National Treatment Agency will be sufficient to cope.'

www.audit-commission.gov.uk

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