EXPERTS have warned that addicts in Bolton could end up with ‘nowhere to go for help’ if councils continue to cut budgets, as new figures show the authority is spending over £2milllion less on services than they were six years ago.

Councils across the north west have cut budgets for drug and alcohol services to the tune of £16million over the period, leading to concerns about the number of rehabilitation facilities closing their doors as a direct result.

In Bolton, the council’s misuse budget has dropped from £5,618,053 in 2013 to £3,494,794 in 2019, meaning the authority is spending £2,123,304 less than they were six years ago.

But council bosses are keen to point out that a reduction in the amount they are spending is more likely to be attributed to the fact that they have changed the way in which they run the service.

A spokesman for the council said: “Since last year, the contract for drug and alcohol services in Bolton has been delivered by Greater Manchester Health NHS Foundation Trust via the Achieve Scheme.

“This service also runs in Salford and Trafford and this collaborative approach to commissioning has secured significant economies of scale.

"As GMMH is also the provider of mental health services in Bolton this strengthens the care and treatment provided, to meet service user’s needs as part of a fully integrated system."

But the company that collected the information, the UK Addiction Treatment Group, say the reduction in funding is clearly having an impact of the number of facilities able to help vulnerable people.

After speaking to the Quality Care Commission – the independent regulator of health service – about the closures, results showed that as of April 2013, 28 services were available to those in need, compared to just 23 today.

This, they say, represents a 17% closure rate to drug and alcohol treatment services across the north west, landing a ‘double whammy blow’ to addicts.

Eytan Alexander, Managing Director of UKAT said: “If less money is being spent by local councils on placing those most vulnerable into treatment, then we will undoubtedly see even more public rehabs having been forced to close their doors by this time next year.

“Not everyone can afford to pay for their addiction treatment, but everyone deserves to be treated and given a second chance at life. But at this rate, where will addicts living here go to get help?

“It is not a coincidence that as councils across the North West spend less of substance misuse treatment services, public rehabs close down and more people die.”

Achieve, the service now provided by Bolton Council, takes a ‘holistic approach’ to treating both substance misuse and any underlying mental health issues, aiming to intervene early before problems develop into complex long-term conditions.

The council spokesman added: “Achieve works with partners in the volunteer and charity sector to provide a wide range of rehabilitation options, including discussion groups and therapeutic work.

“Together with Achieve’s skilled and experienced workforce, this allows us to carry out more treatment in the community.

“Bolton service users can still access inpatient facilitates where this is considered the most clinically appropriate treatments.”