Local authority leaders have called on the Government to increase investment in public health services to help them tackle drug and alcohol addiction.
The call came in response to a report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists which warned that addiction services were ‘not equipped’ to treat the eight million people drinking at high risk during the pandemic.
Dr Adrian James, the president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, warned that addiction services had been ‘starved of funding’ in recent years and so will be unable to care for the ‘huge numbers of people who are drinking at high risk.’
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, the chairman of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Community Wellbeing Board, urged the Government to commit to long-term investment in public health services.
‘It is clear that public health funding for councils, which provides drug and alcohol prevention and treatment services, represents value for money and helps to relieve pressures on other public services such as criminal justice and the NHS, further down the line,’ he said.
‘The forthcoming Spending Review needs to see significant and sustainable investment in public health, including a reversal of councils’ £700m grant funding reductions since 2015, to keep providing the essential services which help people stay healthy and free of addiction.’