Hull rehab project fears future cuts to drug and alcohol budgets due to pandemic

A rehabilitation centre in Hull thinks fundraising will become even more crucial if the financial impact of the pandemic on local authorities leads to less money for drug and alcohol services.

The Bridges, run by The Forward Trust, offers specialised treatment, mostly to ex-offenders, to help them overcome their addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Men living at The Bridges follow a 12-step programme which takes them on a journey of self discovery. It focuses on honesty and open communication and clients are not allowed to use any kind of mind-altering substances.

Goals rely on honesty and open talking Credit: ITV Yorkshire

The charity claims it has a very high success rate, with 24% of those completing the programme going on to reoffend within one year, compared to around 76% for those leaving prison with unresolved addiction.

Drug-related deaths last year were at the highest level since records began, yet research suggests in the three years up to 2019, funding for treatment services was cut by an average of 27%.

Treatment manager at The Bridges, Jessica Bailey, worries this trend could continue due to the financial strain put on the government and local authorities by the pandemic.

Our success rate speaks for itself and the costs of sending someone to rehab are much lower than sending them to prison. But there will probably still be cuts to drug and alcohol budgets, so now it's crucial that we rely on fundraising.

Treatment manager at The Bridges, Jessica Bailey

A local doctor and father of six, James Britton, is a strong supporter of the programme and is preparing to complete the 63 mile Humber Tri Challenge this weekend to raise money for it.

Meanwhile, the findings of a major independent Review of Drugs are due to be published soon and a cross-government addiction strategy is expected to be published early next year.

A government spokesperson said: "We are committed to ensuring everyone has access to the right health services. Local authorities know their communities best, which is why we have invested over £3bn this year to spend on public health services, including those for addiction with ring-fenced funding in place.

“We continue to support a range of evidence-based approaches to reduce the health-related harms of drug misuse and as part of our NHS Long Term Plan alcohol care teams will be introduced in hospitals with the highest number of alcohol-related admissions and we expect this to prevent 50,000 admissions from alcohol related harm over five years.”

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