Councillor James Coleman, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council has declared that new financial backing for Glasgow's drug treatment programmes will be money well spent.
Councillor Coleman's comment came as a £768,000 cash boost from the Scottish Executive was laid before the Council's social work services committee yesterday.
The cash injection has been made to help Glasgow's Addiction Services Partnership reinforce its approach to tackling drug problems.
As part of the cash award the Scottish Executive has set a series of performance targets. These include: -
-creating an additional 291 places for the city's methadone programme.
-an increase of 146 new patients in partial and in-patient services to assist those with a combination of addiction and mental health problems.
-a reduction of waiting times for these services.
Councillor Coleman says that the benefits of the partnership between the Council and Greater Glasgow NHS are already becoming apparent.
In 2004/2005 almost 8500 people with addiction problems were seen by support staff - an increase of 37% on the previous year. Eighty-one per cent of new service users were seen within 21 days, which compares with the national average of 42%.
The methadone programme was extended by 18% and over 1200 people with addiction problems were give support to access training, education or employment opportunities.The new money will go towards ensuring even more people on the methadone programme are offered support, rehabilitation and training and employment opportunities.
Councillor Coleman said: "Detractors of drug treatment programmes refuse to accept the evidence on the positive impact they have.
"For every £1 invested in the treatment that help get people off drugs, anything up to £18 can be saved from the cost to wider society.
"This won't be money squandered, it will be money well spent."
Glasgow now has an unprecedented number of people- 8400 -with access to treatment and care interventions.
This is an increase of 40% since 2003 and it is estimated that 50% of all serious problem drug users are in contact with Glasgow City Council Services at any one time - the highest level of penetration in Scotland.
In Glasgow 7500 people receive methadone prescriptions with 5500 of those also receiving a range of supports to help them deal with underlying social, family, emotional and psychological issues.
Councillor Coleman said: "There is a lot of hard work still to do but no-one can deny that Glasgow Addictions Partnership is making a difference to the problem of addiction.
"It is also clear that getting a grip on a person's drug problem leads directly to a substantial drop in crime.
"I have no doubt that Glasgow's approach is the right approach to beating the menace of drugs."
Andrew Robertson, Vice Chair of Greater Glasgow NHS and a member of the council's working group on drugs and alcohol, also added his backing for the strategy.
He said: -"Prescribing methadone as part of a wider package of care and rehabilitation services is an effective use of resources.
"We welcome this additional funding from the Scottish executive, which will help us make further in-roads into Glasgow's problems with addictions."
NOTE TO EDITORS: - Glasgow Addiction Services is a joint partnership between Glasgow City Council and Greater Glasgow NHS. It provides a wide range of support services for people with drug and alcohol problems. These include community addiction teams, residential and rehabilitation services, community-based alcohol support services and specialist in-patient and day hospital services. It operates through nine community addiction teams (CATS) across the city.
Glasgow has received 22.6% of a £4million Scottish executive funding package for drug action teams across Scotland. This is against a 26.6% prevalence rate.
Glasgow Addiction Services Partnership has a total, annual budget of £32 million, plus new money outlined above. A further £849,000 has come from the Scottish Executive and this will go towards work on alcohol addictions.
The National Treatment outcome study (NTORS), the largest ever study of drug treatment effectiveness in Europe, found that those treated in community and residential services reduced substance use, cut their criminal activity and saw their health improve. This includes a 50% drop in acquisitive crime in the first year of treatment with further reductions over the second year.
Further work by NTORS has established the economic benefit of drug treatment programmes. For every £1 spent £9.50 to £18 can be saved by reducing pressure on health, social care and legal services as well as the cost of crime to victims.
Of the 1239 people with addictions problems who have moved into employment and training 719 have gone through a pre-employment and education programme that includes work on literacy, numeracy, problem solving and confidence working, 137 gained formal training programmes such as apprenticeships, 203 are now in part-time or full-time education, 17 are doing voluntary work and 163 are in full employment.
Of the 25 people referred into employment through Glasgow's East Area Community Addiction Team five are working in warehousing, six are in construction, three are in retail, three are in alternative therapies, three are in the care sector, two are in information technology and two are in the intermediate labour market.
For further information contact Iona Campsie, Media Officer, Glasgow City Council on 0141 287 0910.