The Work Programme in Durham – has it helped or failed benefit claimants?

illustrationTwo North East Charities, which Addictions UK knows well (helping to fund one them) have run short training courses for people with difficulties finding paid employment. The courses were all free of charge and underwritten by a grant from the European Social Fund through Durham Community Foundation.

Undoubtedly the courses were a great success with the participants mainly offering very high satisfaction points in the supplied Evaluation Sheets.  The “One to One” sessions were an important part of the courses and this enabled the organisers to offer a more client-led service as part of the training programmes.

Surprisingly, Benefit claimants on the Work Programme do not qualify to for the newly announced New Enterprise Allowance  This rule discriminates against the very people that the Government are wanting to start up new enterprises.

Additionally, some of the participants referred from two Work Programme Contractors were threatened with their benefit being suspended if they failed to attend this voluntary course.  The same County Durham Work Programme Providers refused to pay for travelling expenses to some of their clients.

Recent Research published by the Government shows failing in other areas – see the BBC’s report “Welfare-to-work: Official figures show job target missed”

Simon Stephens, Addictions UK‘s Director of Case Work expressed concern at the disappointing statistics and seeming shortage of cash for this Government’s “Help” Scheme.

He said, “Threats and relentless pressure alone will not resolve the countless problems of those claimants pathologically dependent on Alcohol and Drugs”.

Simon continued,  “More resources are needed to bring people back to the work place.  A few short ‘Condition Management’ Programmes will not necessarily bring ‘Recovery’ to people who want to work – but are unable due to their medical conditions.

“Given these reservations we were pleased with the exceptional results from the two courses developed in County Durham”.

Addictions UK is the leading provider of Home-based Addictions Treatment, working with people who cannot attend residential rehab centres and wish to resolve their dependence to drugs and alcohol at home.  For further information contact us on lineor telephone us on 0845 4567 030.

Addictions UK was pleased to donate funds to Addictions North East – a Regional Charity that was involved in the organisation of the ESF Training Courses.

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A report produced by the National Treatment for Substance misuse (NTA) showed that although overall drug use has declined there has been an increase in people requiring treatment for club drugs such as ketamine and mephedrone in the last six years.

The report Club drugs: emerging trends and risks has found that:

  • Last year 6486 people were treated for a club drug.
  • Ecstasy remains most commonly treated drug with just over 1000 adults entering treatment for this last year.
  • Mephedrone and ketamine are joining ecstasy as popular club drugs.  751 people accessed treatment for ketamine and 900 people required support for mephedrone last year.
  • Club drug users do well when they access treatment and 61% of adults successfully completed treatment for club drug use.

Simon Stephens, Director of Case Work at Addictions UK said:

“Ketamine use can lead to bladder damage and long term use of these substances can lead to psychosis.  Treatment can be very effective and we have seen excellent results.  People have overcome a range of complicated physical and psychological problems.  Whilst heroin and crack use is declining, newer club drug use is a significant challenge and people need to access treatment to help them overcome their addiction. ”

Read the report Club drugs: emerging trends and risks now.

Addictions UK provides addictions treatment services throughout the UK. In England, our own trained and experienced counsellors can help you if you.  For more information contact us now on line or telephone 0845 4567 030.

You are just a phone call away from Addiction Recovery.

Richard Branson calls for decriminalisation of drugs

illustrationSpeaking at the première of his son’s film “Breaking the Taboo”, Richard Branson stated that the global 40 year war against narcotics gangs which has cost £1.5 trillion and failed.

“As a businessman,” he said, “if you have a failed business for two or three years you change course, you don’t just carry on.”   He has urged David Cameron and other world leaders to decriminalise all drugs.

“The consequences of this failed war have been tens of thousands of deaths, 300 million dollars a year going into the underworld, and hundreds of people being put into prison or even executed for taking drugs”.

At the same time, the Home Affairs Parliamentary Committee published their ninth report – Drugs – Breaking the Cycle.  This calls on the Government to re-examine the UK’s Drug Policies.  The Home Office rejected its call to hold a Royal Commission on this subject.

The Home Office minister, Jeremy Browne, said the government was “open to new ways of thinking”. He told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We are open-minded, we think it’s a decent, Thoughtful, balanced report. We will consider it carefully.”

You can read more about drug decriminalisation at BBC News.

Others take a completely different view to Richard Branson and oppose the legalisation of drugs.

Mothers against Drugs seeks to keep all drugs off the streets.  It was formed in 2001 by a group of women in Scotland who were enraged and disgusted by the volume of drug taking and dealing in their community. They wanted to highlight and tackle the real problem of drugs. As a campaigning group, it has as its main priority the establishment of Rehabilitation Centres.

Simon Stephens, Director of Casework at Addiions UK, argues that, “There is a strong case for legalising drugs as this could lead to more investment in treatment services through taxation and would help more people access treatment rather than going to prison.  However, decimalisation could lead to an increase in drug use as some people wrongly assume that because a substance is legal it is safe.”   Addictions UK promotes abstinence as a Programme of Recovery for people with addictions.

Read more about Richard Branson’s views or visit the Breaking the Taboo website

Addictions UK provides home-based addiction treatment services throughout the UK. For more information  contact us now on line or telephone 0845 4567 030. You are just a phone call away from addiction recovery.

Addictions UK offers a range of customised treatment aiming at dealing with the causes of addiction.  Home Detox Services are also delivered anywhere within the UK or Republic of Ireland, subject to satisfactory assessments

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Thames Valley Police ponder strong alcohol ban. Can prohibition work?

illustrationA scheme to limit the sale of super strength lagers could be coming to town centres in the Thames Valley. It follows the launch of a voluntary scheme in Ipswich where around half the town’s shops have agreed to remove strong lager and cider from shelves. Thames Valley Police neighbourhood teams are already considering whether the scheme could work.

According to London charity Thames Reach, super strength alcohol kills more homeless people than heroin or crack cocaine.  Spokesman Mike Nicholas said: “A single can of 9% lager contains a massive four and a half units of alcohol. It only takes one can to exceed the government’s daily recommended safe alcohol limit of three to four units for men and two to three units for women.”
Ian Caren, of Reading charity Launchpad, said: “With the sale of super strength lager, you are giving very vulnerable people the ability to damage themselves considerably.”

Henry Ashworth, chief executive of Portman Group, which operates a code of practice for the drinks industry, said “it was questionable whether removing the drinks from shelves was the best way to help people who misused alcohol”.
Is it beyond the comprehension of the scheme operators to think that people would travel to an area where the scheme is not in operation to acquire cheap alcohol?

Simon Stephens, Director of Case Work at Addictions UK said that he agrees with the CEO of the Portman Group. “If a person is determined to drink strong alcohol they will find a means of purchasing the product.  There is a great difference between those who drink heavily and those people who are pathologically dependent on alcohol.  Accessible Addiction Treatment Services must be made available to people with addictions to alcohol”.

For further details of the report see

Addictions UK is the leading provider of Home-based Addiction Treatment including medical detox services for alcohol.  For further information please contact us now on line or phone 0845 4567 030 or +44 (0) 191 410 9008