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25/06/13 09:58

Faster drug and alcohol treatment

Reduction in waiting times for those seeking help with drug and alcohol problems

A national target to improve access to drug and alcohol treatment has now been met, according to official ISD Scotland figures published today for the period January to March this year.

The statistics show that the HEAT – Health Improvement, Efficiency, Access, Treatment - target which required that by March this year 90 per cent of clients would wait no longer than three weeks from referral to appropriate treatment for drug or alcohol problems, has now been exceeded. Of the 10,897 people who started their first drug and/or alcohol treatment during those three months, almost 95 per cent waited less than three weeks.

Ministers today welcomed the efforts of NHS Boards, Alcohol and Drug Partnerships and drug and alcohol service providers to reduce these waiting times in recent years so that when people are ready to face up to their problems, the right support is available as soon as possible.

Minister for Community Safety, Roseanna Cunningham said:

“I welcome the news that by March 2013, almost 95 per cent of people who first started drug and/or alcohol treatment had waited three weeks or less to access that treatment. This significant achievement has been delivered through the hard work and efforts of Alcohol and Drug Partnerships and all those providing these vital health and care services, supported by record Scottish Government investment to tackle drug and alcohol use in Scotland - £69m in 2013/14.

“In 2007 – prior to the introduction of our National Drugs Strategy, The Road to Recovery –766 people were reported to be waiting more than a year just to receive an appointment to be assessed for the treatment they needed. We are now in a strong position to accelerate progress and improve quality in all aspects of treatment, care and support for people with drug problems in Scotland.”

Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson said:

“It’s hugely encouraging to see a higher proportion of people with drug and alcohol problems get access within three weeks to the treatment and support they need to help them recover.

“We need to ensure that this level of delivery is sustained and that people in all parts of Scotland continue to have access to the treatment that they need to enable them to lead fuller, more productive lives, free from drug and alcohol problems and reduce our rates of drug and alcohol-related death.”