To receive a report from Andrew Thomson, Head of Drug and Alcohol Services
Andrew Thompson, Head of Drug and Alcohol Services, discussed a report produced by Public Health England who has a responsibility for reducing substance misuse.
He discussed Drug and Alcohol misuse in Enfield by raising the following points:
· 9 million adults drink at levels that increase the risk of harm to their health, 50+ units of alcohol a day, of that 8,000 of those are in Enfield. 3,600 people in Enfield are described as having an alcohol dependency.
· Around 1,000 people in Enfield are receiving drug treatment. The percentage of those people injecting drugs is low. However, of those that do inject drugs a high percentage of them have HIV.
· In Enfield, hospitals spend 5.8 million pounds and primary care services spend approximately 1.7 million for alcohol admissions. 92 beds per day are blocked in hospitals in Enfield due to alcohol admissions
· 36% of children in Child Protection in the borough are in that position due to their parents having issues with substance abuse issues. Heroin users will have their children removed for a minimum of 2 years as the risk of relapse is too high.
· £11bn is spent on alcohol related crime in England each year. 52% of all domestic violence incidents are alcohol related.
· Every year drug misuse costs the NHS in England £488m.
· Enfield’s success rate for Drug Treatment programmes is 5th best in London. The success rate is measured by those who go through the treatment not relapsing or reoffending.
The following questions and comments were taken:
Q) Is there any link between alcohol & drug abuse, and homelessness?
A) The housing service works with the Alcohol and Drug Team to help get homeless people housed quickly. The Council currently runs a scheme where private landlords are paid up to £1,600 rent deposits and potential damage charges. The cost for the deposits and potential damage charges are flexible to ensure the vulnerable people get housed without any issues.
Q) Is there any statistics to show the correlation between alcohol & drug misused and factors such as race, religion and culture?
A) There is less alcohol misuse typically in Muslim and Greek cultures and less drug misuse typically in Greek communities. A problem which occurs from communities were a low number of the population are using alcohol and drugs is that they can often neglect those that do. The people using are then socially isolated and unable to get support.
Nationally Heroin use is down by 5% and its use is continuing to decrease. The use of Heroin is linked with times of deprivation, in periods of affluence the use of Heroin declines
Q) A large number of Eastern European people are seen drinking in the streets in the borough. How is help given to those who may not speak English?
A) Everyone in the borough with a drink or alcohol problem is supported. There is a translation service available to those people that do not speak or understand English.
A large portion of Eastern European males in the borough have a drink problem. Enfield is currently looking into a scheme which would prohibit shops from selling cheap, strong ciders. Other boroughs, such as Ipswich, have tried similar schemes which have been beneficial to the community.
Q) Do sporting events see increases of people coming to the drug and alcohol team for help?
A) No, sporting events don’t seem to trigger an increase in take up. We find surges in the number of people requesting help are seasonal. During Christmas, the number of people requesting help is low, however, after Christmas there is a sharp increase in those needing support. From previous experience providing outreach work during these periods is not beneficial as those who need help also have to want it for treatment to be successful.
Q) Is there a demographical correlation in the borough for those using drugs and alcohol?
A) Treatment Services are located in the Edmonton side of the borough. 80% of drug users live on this side of the borough. The Drug and Alcohol Team are keen to have more services in more affluent areas of the borough as typically in these areas cocaine and alcohol misuse is more predominate. A centre providing support is being set up at Vincent House, a more central location to Enfield Town.
A member of the public suggested bringing back a work programme for drug and alcohol users as an in between for prison and freedom. Andrew Thompson responded by stating that residential treatment for drug and alcohol misuse is very intrusive and only occurs alongside therapy where the person is fully supported.