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The Royal College of Psychiatrists has expressed serious concerns about the reduced funding available to help young people who are using alcohol and substances in a harmful manner, saying that large numbers of people are not able to access the support they need. Dr Emily Finch, a psychiatrist who specialises in helping patients displaying addictive behaviours calls for the decision to reduce the funding to be reversed and says an additional £43 million is needed to help manage a crisis that has been exacerbated by the Covid 19 pandemic. The stress of lockdowns, job losses, bereavement and lack of routine led to many people turning to alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism. Only last week the Office for National Statistics reported that alcohol-related deaths in 2020 were the highest they had been for the past 20 years in England and Wales with a staggering increase of 20% from 2019.
Funding for addiction services has been slashed by £26 million between 2014 and 2020, with the Northwest of England, including Cumbria, in the top three areas hardest hit. At CADAS, we have noticed the reduction in funding as we have supported over 370 adults since introducing our new helpline during the Covid 19 pandemic. 86% of these callers were new to CADAS and we also provide much-needed support to their families, friends, and carers. This is often an extremely stressful time for them and they also want advice as to how they can help their loved ones overcome the challenges they are facing.
The President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr Adrian James, warns that more young people will be affected by alcohol and substance use and this will impact on other health services in the future unless funding is increased. In 2019, there were over 40,000 alcohol-related admissions to A&E, with a quarter of those linked to the mental and behavioural effects of alcohol. To read more on this, visit https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-56541330
At CADAS, we continue to support anybody over the age of 10 who feels they are using alcohol or substances in a harmful manner, or those affected by somebody else’s substance use. For advice and support, people can call our free helpline on 0800 2 54 56 58 or email email@example.com – lines open Monday to Friday, 11am-6pm.