Poulter warns Johnson of addiction treatment crisis

Dr Dan Poulter MP

Dr Dan Poulter raised the provision of addiction services in Prime Minister's Questions. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Suffolk MP Dr Dan Poulter has warned that a piecemeal approach to drug and alcohol addiction schemes in the country is leading to a rise in deaths nationwide.

He raised the issue in a parliamentary question to the prime minister this week - and Boris Johnson promised him that his concerns would be raised with the team currently conducting an inquiry into addiction services.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Poulter said that since the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, local health bodies had bought addiction services from outside bodies and the number of people using them had fallen.

Deaths from alcohol and opiate addiction were at record levels. He asked for addiction services to be brought back within the NHS.

Mr Johnson said he would ensure Dr Poulter's point was communicated to Dame Carol Black, who is currently conducting a review of addiction services.

Speaking after his question, Dr Poulter said he was pleased to have raised the issue with Mr Johnson and hoped his response would ensure that treatment for addiction remained an important issue for the government.

Dr Poulter said: "I am encouraged that this is an issue that will be examined by Dame Carol's review - there does need to be a more structured approach to addiction treatment for both alcohol and opiates.

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"I have now raised it with the prime minister and I hope very much that this can lead to meetings to really get to grips with the issue."

Dr Poulter works part-time at an NHS hospital in London and Mr Johnson took the opportunity to thank him and his colleagues for their work during the pandemic as he answered his question.