The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has reported that the number of alcohol-related hospital admissions have risen to more than 1.2 million a year, up 5% in England over two years. The think tank says that the number of admissions rose from 1,168,266 in 2010/11 to 1,232,464 in 2012/13, the latest statistics available from the Department for Health.
The CSJ is critical that residential treatment has been continually cut, particularly because it offers the most effective form of treatment.
The CSJ is calling for a treatment tax which, it says, should be added to off-licence alcohol sales to fund rehab for people with alcohol and drug addictions. Under the scheme, a levy of a penny per unit would be added by the end of the next Parliament to fund recovery services to the tune of £1.1billion over the five years.
CSJ Director, Christian Guy, said: “Alcohol abuse can rip into families, make communities less safe and entrench poverty. This is a growing problem but for years effective treatment has been the preserve of the wealthy. It’s time to break this injustice wide open and fund a new generation of rehabilitation treatment.”
I support this proposal. One of the unintended consequences of the all-party obsession with protecting funding for the NHS is that medical interventions to tackle addiction to alcohol and other drugs have, largely, been protected while social care funding has been slashed across the country. As the CSJ points out, residential rehabilitation offers the most effective form of treatment.