SLASHING drug and alcohol services funding by nearly £500,000 has been slammed by Labour’s health spokesman.
Coun Graham Vickery, responsible for the Redditch North ward, has spoken out after it was revealed the budget would drop by 10.3 per cent – a drop of £4,795,085 down to £4,302,085 as part of a reorganisation of the contracts involved.
He said the ‘availability and misuse’ of drugs and alcohol across Worcestershire was a problem which would not go away, and was even less likely to if action to address the problem was stopped.
“Children are at great risk of exposure to dangers to their health and those who are already trapped in addiction need counselling and treatment to get out of their predicament.” he said.
He added drug addiction not only damaged the users but also contributed to domestic violence and led to children being placed in care.
“These consequences cost the public purse far more than prevention and cure strategies, involving not only the authorities but police, courts and the NHS.
“It is at these times of austerity that many who cannot cope turn to drugs and alcohol. The county council should have sufficient funds to assist those members of the Worcestershire community who need help and have plans in place to protect vulnerable young children.
“Most importantly it should be the responsibility of the council’s Public Health department to ensure prevention planning is in place.
“The county council should not be putting its head in the sand and failing to consider the consequences of its actions.”
Coun Marcus Hart, responsible for health and wellbeing on the council said alcohol was one of the four priorities in the health and wellbeing strategy and they had recently recommissioned services following a full needs assessment.
“We have every confidence our incoming provider will be able to deliver the new model of care at this level of funding and lead to improvements in this service.”