Cost of living sees demand for Doncaster addiction support centre more than double

Addiction support centres are seeing an alarming rise in those coming to them for help as the cost of living crisis has left many abusing substances.

In Doncaster, Aspire Drug & Alcohol Services, has seen their numbers more than double since the start of the pandemic.

Roger Gibbons, 60, is one of those the centre helps.

He had a successful career as a sound engineer working with bands like Def Leppard, Bon Jovi and Motley Crew, but when the pandemic hit and the music industry shut down his life began to fall apart.

His alcohol abuse saw him alienated from his family and leave him effectively homeless. As the cost of living increased his solution was alcohol.

Roger is a recovering alcoholic.

He said: "My day revolved around drinking, it's the way my mind took me. I would wake up in the morning and look at the clock and work out how long it took until the off licence was open.

"At that point I was drinking a litre of Vodka everyday. The cost of living crisis brings more stress and more confusion into our lives. It becomes a way to escape from the reality of what is going on in our lives.

"I will be an alcoholic for the rest of my life, but the day I die sober, is the day I've won, but until then I'm just going to keep fighting with the help of people here."

His story is far from unfamiliar to the centre as their services are in demand more than ever.

Neil Firbank said the aim is to reconnect addicts with society based on shared experiences.

"It may seem bizarre to people that if you're already struggling with money, why spend money on something like alcohol but it's cheap, available, it's accessible and unfortunately things can quite quickly escalate."

"People realise they're not doing this alone, and they don't have to."

The latest statistics on alcohol-specific deaths in the UK show there were 9,641 deaths in 2021, the highest number on record and a 27% increase from pre-pandemic levels.

Alcohol-specific death rates rose in every English region since 2019.