the government’s strategy – to cut benefits etc – seems to suggest that all drug users live in council flats and are unemployed! is that a fair reflection of the truth? And does it help the cause of fund raising in an already difficult area, where people would rather push the whole business of addiction to the local council estate?
Limited effectiveness at best. Focus once again on numbers of people signing up for treatment rather than effectiveness of treatment. Addaction says: “It’s like looking at numbers of people signing up at GPs surgeries rather than effectiveness of treatment. BBC conducted survey last year. Of the 180,000 signed up for treatment, 20,000 didn’t actually take any treatment, 80,000 didn’t complete treatement and only less than three per cent remained drug free after treatment. Critics have slammed the new drugs strategy of removing benefits from people who don’t complete treatment and seizing assets of drug dealers upon arrest as unworkable gimmicks. Once again no emphasis on children of addicts. Government will ask grandparents to look after children to addicts – is that passing on the responsibility to the less capable but emotionally involved folk? Another wasted opportunity for the government after a year of discussing with stakeholders. Addaction has a lot of work to do, if it can raise the funds.
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Addaction is the largest specialist drug and alcohol treatment charity. It was set up at the behest of a desperate mother, whose child was a drug addict, and who needed support. Since then it has grown to a national charity, and now has a network of agencies in England, Scotland and Ireland. It has an annual spend of some £30 million and 800 employees. Its major source of funding (93%) is through government grants. Only 7% comes from fundraising. As the charity celebrates its 40th anniversary this year it faces numerous strategic challenges. How does it become a more proactive, modern, forward thinking charity?
Addaction faces the following problems: its work is with a sector of the population that most people would rather push into the corners of their mind. Research has shown that people consider drug addicts as council estate, poor, unemployed down-and-outs. Members of the public would rather ignore drug addiction. This does not bring in voluntary contributions easily. Also the charity’s work is difficult to assess for effectiveness, as follow-up statistics for addiction relapses are difficult to get.