Experts are warning a 22% funding cut for drug and alcohol rehabilitation could see deaths rise and a massive increase in the costs to society.
Alcohol and Drug Partnerships have been told by the Scottish Government that direct funding for their work will fall this year from £69.2 million to £53.8 million. Health Secretary Shona Robison also told them in a letter that NHS boards would be expected to make up the £15 million deficit from their increased budgets.
Scottish Drugs Forum chief executive David Liddell has said Alcohol and Drug Partnerships and the wider drugs rehabilitation sector had ‘real concerns’ over the negotiations on local 2016/17 spending. He also added:
“The fear is that these negotiations will lead to reductions in funding for frontline services aimed at some of the most vulnerable people in society. This has the potential to increase harm and drug-related deaths.”
Ms Robinson has written to Alcohol and Drug Partnerships to say that Scottish Government wanted all drug and alcohol treatment services to fall under health to improve consistency and standards. She has said the funding cut would be offset by an increase in funding to health boards. She has been quoted saying, “We would expect a total of £15 million to also go towards supporting these efforts and maintain the overall spending on addressing alcohol and substance misuse.”
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