Government Plans to Cut the Benefits of Those Dependent on Drugs (including alcohol)

Posted by on Jun 1, 2012 in Main Blog | 0 comments

The government has announced plans to stop the benefits of anyone who does not seek help for their drug/alcohol addiction.
There are many factors that should be considered, including:
  • It can take a long time for someone to realise they have a substance misuse problem that needs addressing;
  • It can take even longer to seek help;
  • Encouraging people to get help is far more likely to work rather than forcing people. Forcing someone to access treatment when they are not ready to could result in high proportions of people leaving treatment too soon;
  • Support services (like many other organisations) have seen a reduction in available funding;
  • They are not all open 24 hours a day, relying on the service user being able to attend at certain times (consider also child care issues);
  • They can be difficult to access, particularly for a chaotic drug user and may not be within the locality of the person requiring the help;
  • Drug dependency is a complex matter and each person has individual needs;
  • Cutting benefits will not necessarily significantly reduce the number of people who are misusing substances (it isn’t just a case of being able to stop, part of recovery includes looking at the causes for addiction);
  • There will need to be key people working in the job centres who are skilled in recognising those with substance misuse issues, have the knowledge and understanding to provide support to these people and who will be able to signpost them to the right treatment services, at the same time regarding them fairly and respectfully;
  • Withdrawing benefits from a person who is dependent on drugs whether that is prescribed drugs, over the counter medicines, alcohol or illegal substances, could result in greater financial instability, increased mental health problems, more family breakdowns and a general decline in society.

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