Warnings from alcohol and drug rehab centre as cost of living crisis has 'knock on' addiction effect

  • Video report by Granada Reports correspondent Mel Barham

The number of people seeking help for addictions has risen dramatically in the past few months, according to a North West residential rehabilitation centre.

The UK Addiction Treatment Group (UKAT) says the number of calls to their Runcorn Oasis centre is 'the worst' they have seen it in two years.

The volume of calls has increased by more than 11% over the past three months, with staff blaming the cost of living crisis for affecting people's relationship with drugs and alcohol.

"It's just gotten busier and busier and more and more people making inquiries," Faith Noone, the manager of Oasis Recovery in Runcorn, says.

"So I thought it would be there would be less people wanting to come in because of the and the cost side of things.

"But actually, it's been the complete opposite. And, you know, a lot of families are desperate for help and reaching out to get some help for their family member.

"I think it's the worst we've had, I've been here for two years and it's the worst I've ever seen it.

"I think a lot of people are using alcohol, drugs, as a way of coping with real life and what's going on.

"Everything's getting harder, it's getting more expensive, everything is getting more worrying.

"That can then impact on self-esteem which can then impact on depression and anxiety and it's kind of a vicious circle."

Oasis Recovery in Runcorn treats people from across the North West for addictions ranging from drugs and alcohol to gaming, gambling and porn. 

It has reported its admissions helpline is receiving thousands of calls each month from people desperately seeking treatment as their dependencies worsen. 

In August 2022, the Group received 4,684 calls for help, rising to 4,797 in September and then rocketing up to 5,219 in October.

The rise in calls is naturally increasing the number of people being admitted into the Cheshire treatment centre. 

In 2021, Oasis Recovery admitted 451 people into treatment, a figure which has already been exceeded, with two difficult months for everyone ahead. 

Kev Clark was treated at the centre in Runcorn in 2021. Credit: Kev Clark

Kev Clark was treated at the centre in Runcorn in 2021.

The 45-year-old dad of three, had been drinking since he was a teenager and in the last 25 years, had not gone a day without alcohol.

His addiction was so bad, and affecting his life and work, that finally he decided to seek help.

"In the last 10 years alone, I was drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels a day, roughly six to eight cans of Fosters and various miniature bottles," he said.

"I was suffering from cold sweats, shakes.

"I had suicidal thoughts. I was arguing with my partner all the time, borrowing money here and there. And I just thought this is not the life for me.

"Since I've come out of the rehab, everything they explained to me inside that place was absolutely amazing.

"I thought to myself, I've had my days of drinking and I've literally had enough now."

Oasis Recovery in Runcorn is a residential rehabilitation facility operated by the UK Addiction Treatment Group Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Kev sees himself as lucky and has been in recovery for over a year, but he worries others like him may be tipped over the edge with their addiction as a result of the cost of living crisis.

Nuno Albuquerque, Head of Treatment at Oasis Recovery in Runcorn, says: “The cost of living crisis has been attributed as being the biggest trigger for anxiety, stress and trauma; emotions that addiction loves to thrive off. 

“Unfortunately, people have always turned to drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms in life, a behaviour that now more than ever will be exacerbated as living conditions for a lot of people become extremely difficult to cope with. 

“If you are struggling, please reach out. Our fantastic team will guide you in the right direction and get you the best help for you.”

  • A free 24/7 confidential live chat service for help and support with addiction is available on the Oasis Recovery website or you can call 0808 274 8029.