4,700 Shropshire adults are alcohol-dependent and require specialist treatment
More than 4,700 adults living in Shropshire are classed as alcohol-dependent and in need of specialist treatment, figures show.
Data from Public Health England estimate the number in Telford and Wrekin was 1,953 in 2017/18, which had risen from 1,878 in 2010.
In Shropshire the number fell to 2,813 in 2017/18 from 2,826 in 2010.
It comes as addiction treatment experts say there has been a 30 per cent closure rate of rehab facilities available to treat them in the West Midlands.
Alcohol addiction treatment experts at UK Addiction Treatment Group (UKAT) has called for more to be done to address the issues.
UKAT’s group treatment lead, Nuno Albuquerque said: “Unfortunately, alcohol is just as harmful a drug than heroin is, but a lot of people don’t or don’t want to see it that way.
“Councils across the West Midlands assumed lead responsibility for alcohol service provision back in 2013, giving them full autonomy of how and where they spend their annual public health grant, yet the numbers of people dependent on alcohol and in need of treatment overall isn’t reducing as much as you’d expect after seven years.
“Reports like these are produced to ensure that ignorance is not bliss; financial decision makers are given locally relevant prevalence estimates in order to better understand the scale of need in their area.
“Even though that on the whole, it is positive that the numbers have reduced, we would expect a larger reduction after this amount of time.”
Earlier this year, UKAT lodged a Freedom of Information request to see how many publicly-funded residential drug and alcohol rehab facilities had closed down since councils took responsibility for the public health grant back in 2013.
The results show that Across the West Midlands, there were 10 rehabs available to treat people with alcohol dependence back in 2013, and now, seven remain active.
Nuno said: “Patient care at these particular residential rehabs is in the main, funded by councils.
“If the councils decide to opt for other – more than likely, cheaper – types of care for their patients, like community day centres, then these facilities lack vital funding and over time, have ceased operation.
“Quite simply, greater investment in effective treatment facilities, accessibility and awareness will help lower the number of people in this community suffering with alcohol dependence.”
Alcohol dependence is a syndrome characterised by a strong and sometimes overpowering desire to drink, which may take priority over other previously valued activities.
The analysis of alcohol dependence prevalence is calculated using local hospital admission rates for alcohol dependence or withdrawal, local authority population data and results from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS).
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