The Adult Substance Misuse Treatment Statistics 2022-2023 Report released on Thursday, showed a slight uptick in adults engaging with treatment services, totalling 290,635 compared to the previous year's 289,215. Additionally, the number of adults entering treatment in 2022 to 2023 (137,749) was higher than figures from the previous 2 years. Similar to previous years, 46% of people who left treatment successfully completed their treatment and were free from dependence.
Further trends illustrated by this report include a rise in the number of adults entering treatment for crack cocaine, a 2% increase in people in treatment for alcohol alone, and a 10% increase in people entering treatment for powder cocaine.
This year's report also included more detailed information about peoples' housing situations, including information on whether they were at risk of homelessness in the next 8 weeks. Concerningly, 20% of people entering treatment were recorded as having no home of their own and 9% of people were recorded as having a risk of homelessness in the next 8 weeks. Additionally, as in previous years, over two-thirds of people said they had a mental health treatment need, emphasising the importance of ensuring that those with co-occurring conditions feel able to access the treatment and support that they need.
Concerningly, this year's report noted an 11% increase in deaths during treatment compared to the 2021-2022 statistics (4,166 deaths, equivalent to 1.4% of all adults in treatment). This also represented an increase in the overall proportion of deaths in treatment. Also worrying is the continuing trend in unmet mental health needs – while over two-thirds of the treatment population have a mental health need, just a fifth of this group is receiving any treatment to meet this need.
Responding to the statistics, APA Chair Danny Hames said:
"The latest substance misuse treatment statistics continue to demonstrate that drug and alcohol treatment plays a crucial role in supporting hundreds of thousands of people across the country. However, the scale of the challenge for treatment providers to meet the needs of the people they work with could not be clearer. Unstable housing and unmet mental health needs can seriously hamper the ability of services to support people experiencing very challenging life circumstances, and we have seen an increase in the number of people dying while in treatment. These statistics, and the human stories they represent, underline the case for continued investment in high quality treatment services that understand their populations as well as the wider systems they work within – from physical and mental healthcare to housing support. Our members continue to push for the highest standards in substance misuse treatment, recognising the important opportunity of the government’s Drug Strategy and funding to lay the foundations for the world-class treatment system called for in Dame Carol Black’s Review of Drugs."