Research and analysis

Understanding the costs and savings to public services of different treatment pathways for clients dependent on opiates

This is a summary of analysis on the costs and savings to public services from those receiving treatment for opiate dependence.

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Understanding the costs and savings to public services of different treatment pathways for clients dependent on opiates

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Details

In 2013-14, 79% of clients in the UK undergoing structured drug treatment for a drug dependency were using opiates. Every person’s treatment need is different, with different success rates, and different costs.

This research investigates 2 possible treatment pathways for opiate dependents:

  • those that had a residential component to their treatment
  • those whose treatment was solely in the community

This analytical working paper makes a relative comparison of the costs and savings to wider public services that might be generated as results of clients being on each of the 2 pathways. The public services considered include the treatment itself, welfare payments, housing benefit, employment, health, drug-related offending and prison.

The data available is limited and so many assumptions have had to be made, in particular it only covers 3 years and savings are not necessarily cashable. Therefore it is not possible to draw any conclusions about savings between the 2 pathways or more generally.

Data on structured drug treatment is held by Public Health England, and published annually in their Annual Drug Stats release.

Author: DWP Social Justice Analysis, with PHE contributions on analysis and drafting.

Published 26 January 2015