OFFICIAL FIGURES VINDICATE ADDICTION TODAY
ADDICTION TODAY MARCH 2009 ARTICLE DEMONSTRABLY TRUE, AS OFFICE FOR NATIONAL STATISTICS & ST GEORGE’S UNIVERSITY SHOW DRUG DEATHS AT 8-YEAR HIGH
A few months ago, senior management at the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse wrote scathing letters reprimanding Addiction Today and its editor Deirdre Boyd.
The NTA had told the Substance Misuse Management in General Practice, among others, that drug deaths were falling; this was used to continue inappropriate practice rather than improve it. Addiction Today printed an article in March 2009 revealing that drug deaths were, on the contrary, rising – the NTA said our words were “wholly untrue”.
This week, Addiction Today was authoritatively validated, with the publication of the latest drug death figures by the Office for National Statistics and St George’s University/International Centre for Drug Policy. Drug deaths are the highest in eight years.
In other words, substance-misuse deaths are higher now than when the NTA was set up with a target of reducing drug deaths – as well as the target of enabling access to “better, fairer, more treatment” (but more of that elsewhere on this website). And the second-greatest cause of such deaths is methadone; Addiction Today has long bemoaned bad-practice prescribing of this alternative drug.
At the end of the day, our work is about reclaiming lives. How can we address drug deaths, and the bad practice leading to them, if we do not accept the numbers?
Update yourself on the latest drug death figures here.
Read The NTA, Paul Hayes and drug deaths correspondence here.
Read GPs, the NTA and the numbers game here.