Drugs quitting help 'inadequate' in Northamptonshire

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Services to help drug users in Northamptonshire are inadequate, according to a county council report.

The Drugs Rehabilitation Scrutiny Review said too much effort went into helping drug users maintain rather than quit the substances.

The report said more should be done to help people stay off drugs completely.

But the Northamptonshire Drug and Alcohol Action Team (NDAAT) said the report was simplistic and failed to recognise the service's successes.

The council's report said there were about 3,600 problem drug users in the county.

Problem drug users are those who inject themselves or who were long-term users of opiates or cocaine.

The report, which went to the council's scrutiny committee earlier, said that efforts to help users quit drug use completely were getting lost among the number of different agencies involved.

Treatment programme

It called for better leadership, a redesign of rehabilitation services and an investigation into the availability of housing for ex-users.

But Clive Jekyll, strategy manager at NDAAT, while welcoming some of the report, had concerns about the "emotive" way it had been presented.

"We have not failed to deliver good treatment to people... with at times the best results in the East Midlands."

Mr Jekyll said the team was working hard to change the behaviour of addicts.

"We have lots of success stories of people who have given up drugs and gone on to be gainfully employed."

One 25-year-old former cocaine addict who lives in a Northampton hostel said that even though she has been off drugs for six years, she still found it a struggle.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said: "I think more needs to be done - you can't come off it just like that, you do need a lot of support."

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