Among the figures released in the Adult Substance Misuse Treatment Statistics 2021-2022 Report on Thursday, there were some encouraging trends such as a small (4.8%) increase in adults who are in contact with treatment services (289,215 compared with 275,896 in the previous year). This is the highest number in 7 years. Additionally, almost half (49%) of people who exited treatment completed it successfully and were free from dependence. This is similar to the previous year (50%).
Another encouraging statistic is a 1.4% decrease in the proportion of deaths in treatment overall. However, deaths did still increase in the non-opiate-only group (17%) and the opiate group (1%). Whilst these figures are a reduction on the previous year's statistics, in which deaths increased across all groups, it remains vitally important that as a sector we continue to work together to reduce the number of drug-related deaths across all treatment groups.
Some trends have also been illustrated by this report, such as the alcohol-only treatment group seeing a 10% increase in the overall number of people in treatment. Problems with housing and mental health also remain two significant trends found among adults who misuse substances. 1 in 9 people starting treatment reported a housing problem, and a further 5% said their housing problem was urgent. Additionally, a shocking 70% of people starting treatment said that they had a mental health need, with 22% not receiving any treatment for this.
This further emphasises the urgency to work collaboratively with our colleagues in mental health to ensure that everyone has access to the treatment that they need. It is critical to ensure that people do not experience stigma in seeking treatment for co-occurring conditions. Addiction is a complex condition that often stems from underlying factors including early trauma leading to poor mental health, and until people are treated holistically, preventable deaths will continue.