Glasgow's groundbreaking policy to combat drug addiction is working according to a report published this week. The report suggests a 15% drop in problem drug use, which is more than double the 6% fall across Scotland. The report is published by the respected University of Glasgow Centre for Drug Misuse Research. It also confirms that Glasgow has 22% of Scotland's problem drug users, despite receiving just 12% of national funding.
The Glasgow University Report follows on from the newly formed Joint Addiction Team's first annual report. That showed a 10% increase in the number of people using services, including an extra 500 people signed up to the city's methadone programme compared to 2003.
The Joint Addiction Service employs 400 staff including social workers, nurses, doctors and support staff. Councillor John McKenzie, Convener of Social Care Services Committee, said: "The Annual Report showed that we were experiencing considerable success in almost every area of our work since health and social work addiction staff joined together last year. The service is making contact with over 30% of addicts, which is a very high proportion compared to the UK average. It is very encouraging to see our success reflected in an independent report."
The increase in methadone prescription ties in with a 7.6% rise during 2003 in the number of pharmacies taking part. Almost 84% of pharmacies in Glasgow dispense methadone to recovering addicts. Iona Colvin, Joint General Manager of Addiction Services, said: "Of those people receiving methadone on prescription a further 21% now receive additional social care support compared to last year. This is very important as it makes it much easier to monitor progress and to encourage the participants to stay off drugs in the longer terms. This may be a key factor in why the latest figures show a fall in problem drug use.
"By combining health and social care services in a community setting our staff are putting in place a beginning, a middle and an end for people with a physical addiction, whether that is to drugs or alcohol. Previously this has not always been possible because of the way separate services were organised around well established procedures and specific sites."
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1) A copy of the Annual Performance Report is on the City Council website. Follow the link below to the Committee Minutes option and search using the Document Word Search facility, with reference to Social Care Services Committee of 24/8/04. http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/committees
2) Univeristy of Glasgow: http://www.gla.ac.uk