Drug addiction is a major problem in Scotland with nearly 60,000 people being identified as addicts. This number has been climbing since 2003 but the Scottish Government has a new plan to bring more people into treatment.
The new plan is to lower waiting times for treatment in order to provide more effective and timely treatment.
So far, this approach has brought the waiting times down from around a year in 2007 to just 3 weeks. Between July and September 2012, 90.4% of the 3892 individuals who entered treatment did so within three weeks of asking for help.
Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs Roseanna Cunningham said: "Prior to 2007, much of the information we now have about access to drug treatment did not exist. We know more now than ever before about waiting times for drug treatment and people in drug treatment services.”
"In 2007 we inherited waiting times for drug treatment of over a year. Figures published on Tuesday show that waiting times are continually reducing and more than 90% of people access drug treatment within three weeks of their referral.”
"It is this Government's firm belief that recovery from serious drug addiction is possible and as a Government, we are doing all we can to make that a reality for people across Scotland. “
This is great news for addicts who are searching for recovery but there may be may be some hidden problems with this data. Scotland has struggled for years with using methadone as a method of treatment for drug addiction. So far this has produced poor results and many patients treated with methadone simply add the treatment to the list of drugs they take.
Despite the problems with methadone, this new treatment approach could be immensely valuable for addicts. It can be very disheartening to go looking for help and find that it is not there or that it is a year away. The new method will provide more help to more people many people are excited to see the results.
"The information in this publication will be continually developed in the future to tell us more about people’s outcomes from drug treatment and to build on the work we have done since the Road to Recovery strategy was put in place," Cunningham said