By Rory Murphy
A survey of residential rehabilitation services in Scotland shows that there are 418 beds available for the treatment of both drug and alcohol addiction.
All 20 of the facilities surveyed replied – 16 said they provided residential treatment for both alcohol and drug addiction, three provided treatment for drugs only and one for alcohol only.
The survey was commissioned to follow up on a report published by the Residential Rehabilitation Working Group last year to gain a better understanding of the placements available. The working group made nine main recommendations on how services could be improved all of which have now been reviewed and accepted by the Scottish Government.
Among the recommendations are:
- ensuring equitable access across the country
- developing a clear understanding of need, demand and capacity for services
- adopting a standardised approach to services to support good practice
More than £100 million has been allocated by the Scottish Government for improving and increasing the provision of residential rehabilitation over the next five years.
Minister for Drugs Policy Angela Constance, pictured right, said: “I am grateful to Dr David McCartney and the members of the Residential Rehabilitation Working Group Report for their time and commitment towards producing the recommendations. I am also delighted that Dr McCartney has agreed to Chair a newly convened Working Group advising Scottish Government on the implementation of the recommendations.
“I also want to thank our service providers for helping us to establish a national estimate of number of beds and services provided by drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities.
“Both the survey and the report identify a number of areas where we can do more, including addressing the constraints faced by services as a result of the pandemic and improving facilities for women who require childcare. I will be guided every step of the way by the experience of people whose lives have been touched by drug use and the front line services who support people.
“To save and improve lives we will support more people into treatment and make it easier to access both community services and residential rehabilitation. We know that following any type of treatment, after-care is also crucial. We have already allocated money to our grass roots and third sector organisations to make sure the right support is available within our communities at the right time, tailored towards the needs of each individual and their families.
Drug addicts and dogs are familiar sight on city streets. Picture by Bill Heaney
“As part of our national mission to tackle the drug deaths emergency in Scotland we will take action on the recommendations immediately, backed by the substantial investment announced by the First Minister of £20 million a year for residential rehabilitation for the next five years.”
Dr McCartney said: “Residential rehabilitation treatment has transformed the lives of thousands of Scots over the years, but has often been difficult to access. The Scottish Government’s commitment will create an even playing field and a full menu of treatment options for those with drug and alcohol problems.
“I am grateful to the hard work of the members of the Residential Rehabilitation Working Group. I want to especially thank the Scottish Recovery Consortium’s Lived Experience Reference Group. The group members’ personal perspectives highlight the need to improve choice, access and outcomes for those with substance use disorders seeking recovery. There is now a very real opportunity to do just that.”
Top: A group of drug addicts and alcoholics meet for “breakfast” in The Meadows in Edinburgh. Picture by Bill Heaney