Many people who are dependent can overcome their addiction; however outcomes are different for different groups.
For people with severe drug and alcohol problems, recovery might mean a long and difficult journey which requires long term support.
There will be some people with pre-existing conditions, as well as those with issues which have developed through their drug or alcohol use, such as blood borne viruses like Hepatitis C, criminal records and liver damage.
The Recovery Committee was formed in response to an invitation from the Inter-Ministerial Group on Drugs. In its second report, “What recovery outcomes does the evidence tell us we can expect”, the committee has urged the government to recognise that different groups of drug and alcohol dependent people will require different treatment.
Drug and alcohol recovery
Professor Les Iversen, Chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, said:
There are reasons to be optimistic about recovery but this needs to be tempered. Some people with severe drug and alcohol problems will require long term support - particularly for the UK’s population of ageing heroin users.
Supporting people in recovery is everyone’s responsibility. Employers and communities can all help people by providing employment and voluntary opportunities and helping people participate in their local community.
The ACMD has made 10 recommendations in its report. The key messages are:
- The government is urged to continue to invest in drug and alcohol treatment and recovery systems
- The growth of self help initiatives, such as the 12 step programmes, is to be welcomed
- People should receive help to improve their physical and mental wellbeing, which can be negatively impacted by drug and alcohol abuse
- Local communities and employers should help support people in recovery by providing opportunities for people to contribute to society
The ACMD’s report states treatment for dependence is cost effective, saves lives and reduces the impact on families and communities.