As London struggles with a growing addiction crisis, a new dedicated detox unit for homeless individuals is set to open in the coming weeks. This move comes as statistics show a staggering increase in drug deaths and cocaine use, particularly among finance workers facing burnout. Addiction support charities also report a catastrophic rise in demand for their services. With trends in substance use treatment and the link between housing and mental ill health becoming increasingly apparent, it’s clear that the city must take urgent action to address this growing problem.
Warning more people ‘leaning on’ cocaine as addiction inquiries double
The recent data from The Priory has revealed a worrying trend in the UK – and increase in cocaine addiction. Between June 2019 and June 2020, inquiries for treatment for cocaine addiction have doubled, with stress and isolation believed to be contributing factors. This is likely because cocaine has become cheaper and more available, increasing daily use.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only drug problem facing the UK. While there has been a decrease in people entering treatment for problems with opiates but not crack over the last 11 years, there has also been a drop of 15% this year in those penetrating treatments for both crack and opiates – now at its lowest since 2015-2016. On top of this, while the numbers of people starting treatment for NPS have remained stable since 2017-2018, ecstasy problems have decreased significantly since 2007-2008, and ketamine and methamphetamine problems have increased since 2014-2015, and 2011-2012, respectively. More needs to be done to tackle the growing addiction problem in London.
The government’s investment in addiction services is a welcome step. Still, it needs to be accompanied by a comprehensive strategy for tackling substance misuse, says Michael Garnham from the organisation Compare Rehab.
Finance workers’ cocaine use surges amid burnout crisis: ‘It’s just going up and up.’
The finance industry has seen a dramatic increase in cocaine use among its workers due to the deal boom. This is particularly concerning as it is often seen as a sign of burnout and stress. One example is Jaime Blaustein, addicted to heroin, when he was interviewed for his first job at Morgan Stanley in 2012. His drug use had spiralled throughout his university studies, starting with alcohol and marijuana and progressing to cocaine, crack cocaine, and eventually heroin.
The number of people seeking treatment for crack cocaine addiction has surged by 400% over the past seven years, while those seeking therapy for powdered cocaine use are typically male, aged 30, in paid employment and likely to use alcohol as an additional drug. Crack cocaine cases differ in demographics from powdered cocaine users. The finance industry needs to take action to address this issue before it becomes even more widespread. Education on the dangers of drug abuse should be provided alongside support services for those struggling with addiction
2022 was the highest year of drug deaths
Addiction Awareness Week is launching to raise awareness of the severe mental illness of addiction, following a record high in drug-related deaths this year. Drug misuse deaths have increased by 240% since 1993, with the highest rate occurring in those between 40-49 years old. The national campaign calls for increased addiction treatment spending and an independent review of alcohol harm. It also urges people to share that recovery from addiction is possible while offering compassion and support to those struggling with it.
The number of people in treatment for opiate use was similar to last year, making up the largest substance group. However, there were increases in the other two substance groups, while there was a decrease in the number of adults entering treatment for crack cocaine. New entrants with cannabis and benzodiazepine problems increased this year, with a 5% increase in cannabis and a 6% increase in benzodiazepines. There was also a 27% increase in adults entering treatment for ketamine problems from 2019 to 2020.
The government has pledged to invest £2 billion in addiction services over the next five years, focusing on early intervention and prevention. This includes funding for local authorities to provide more support for those affected by addiction and additional resources for drug treatment services. The government also plans to introduce a new national strategy for tackling substance misuse, including increasing access.
Addiction support crisis as charity sees a catastrophic increase in demand for its services.
ADAPT, a charity providing essential support services to recovering addicts, has seen a 75% increase in demand for its services over the last twelve months. This rise is attributed to the cost of living crisis and a significant reduction in nationwide funding for addiction support. ADAPT provides housing and therapy programmes for those battling with addiction issues, but there is a long waiting list due to a lack of funding and resources. The treatment model at ADAPT integrates the principles of 12-step fellowships such as Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous with that of an Interpersonal Therapy Model.
The current situation has led to an addiction support crisis, with estimates from Liverpool John Moores University showing opiate and crack use on the rise. At the same time, Sheffield University reports increasing levels of alcohol dependence. NDTMS treatment figures provide insight into how many people dependent on alcohol and drugs are in treatment nationally and locally. More needs to be done to address this issue, as ADAPT.
Facts and Figures
The latest figures from the National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) show that there were 275,896 adults in contact with drug and alcohol services between April 2020 and March 2021, a slight rise compared to the previous year. The number of adults entering treatment from 2020 to 2021 was 130,490, similar to the last year’s figure. This suggests that the number of people entering treatment has been relatively stable after falling steadily from 2013 to 2014.
A survey of 8,000 people by University College London (UCL) revealed that high-risk drinking was the most commonly recorded health problem at 26%. Lockdown restrictions have led to an increase in both drug and alcohol-related deaths, as well as a surge in alcohol and gambling problems. To help address these issues, Lextox provides hair drug and alcohol, blood alcohol and SCRAM Continuous Alcohol testing for family law cases and child care proceedings. These tests can help identify individuals who are at risk of developing.
Trends in substance use treatment
The trends in substance use treatment over the past few years have varied. The number of people entering treatment for opiate use has remained similar to last year, making up the largest substance group. However, there have been increases in other substances, such as cannabis and benzodiazepines, with a 5% and 6%, respectively, from 2019 to 2020. There has also been a 27% increase in adults entering treatment for ketamine problems from 2019 to 2020, which is now nearly 3.5 times higher than from 2014 to 2015. This trend of rising numbers entering treatment has been seen over the last seven years.
Housing and mental ill health
The prevalence of mental ill health and housing issues among those entering treatment is concerning. According to recent figures, 17% of adults entering treatment last year reported having a housing problem, with 45% of those starting treatment for new psychoactive substances having the highest housing need. Additionally, 63% of adults starting treatment said they had a mental health need, with over half of all substance groups needing mental health treatment. This need for mental health treatment has increased steadily over the past two years.
London’s first dedicated detox unit for homeless people set to open
London’s first dedicated detox unit for homeless people is set to open on June 14 at St Thomas’ Hospital in Lambeth. This service will provide essential support and activities to help those homeless and struggling with addiction. It is funded through grants from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and local authority treatment budgets, as well as a partnership between PHE and the City of London. The Mayor of London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust both support this landmark service, which aims to address health inequalities among vulnerable populations.
The detox unit will provide life-saving treatment services tailored to the needs of those who sleep rough. This includes peer support, groups, activities such as stopping smoking, healthy eating, essential screening, vaccinations and mental well-being. This is an important step towards helping homeless people get back on their feet by providing them with the resources they need to make positive life changes. It also helps reduce health inequalities among vulnerable populations by providing them with access to the same level of care as those who are not homeless.
The addiction crisis in London is reaching a critical point, with a staggering increase in drug deaths and a surge in cocaine use, particularly among finance workers facing burnout. Addiction support charities also report a catastrophic rise in demand for their services. The recent data from The Priory has revealed a worrying trend in the UK, with an increase in cocaine addiction due to stress and isolation. However, it’s not just cocaine causing a problem; there has been a decrease in people entering treatment for problems with opiates but not crack over the last 11 years and a drop of 15% this year in those penetrating treatments for both crack and opiates.
The government’s investment in addiction services is a welcome step, but it needs to be accompanied by a comprehensive strategy for tackling substance misuse. Education on the dangers of drug abuse should be provided alongside support services for those struggling with addiction. Additionally, the finance industry needs to take action to address the issue of addiction among its workers before it becomes even more widespread. Addiction Awareness Week is launching to raise awareness of the severe mental illness of addiction and to remind people that recovery is possible with compassion and support. It’s time for London to take urgent action to address this growing problem.