The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has signaled formal support for the Royal Society for Public Health’s report Taking a new line on drugs and the evidence-based recommendations it puts forward.
The RCP stated that they strongly support the view that drug addiction must be considered a health issue first and foremost and are alarmed by recent statistics indicating that death and harm from drug use is an increasing problem.
Citing rising drug-related deaths and hospitalisations, the RCP stated: “These figures demonstrate a clear need for physical, psychological and social support and care for people addicted to drugs. The scarcity of resources in this area is of critical concern for the RCP, and in recent years we have been calling for a reversal of the reduction in funding for local authorities’ public health grants and ringfencing for public health services
“As local authorities across the country have sought to balance their budgets in an unprecedented squeeze, this has resulted in cuts to a number of services including alcohol and drug addiction services.
“In a survey carried out in 2016 by the Association of Directors of Public Health, 40% of responding directors said drug services would be decommissioned or reduced in the coming year. We know also that the specialty of addiction psychiatry is severely under threat with the number of training posts decreasing by 60% since 2016.”
The RCP are seeking urgent action to prioritise and increase investment in public health services and workforce in order to meet the increasing population need.