Drug Charity Addaction’s Actions Don’t Match Their Words

Drug and alcohol charities have reacted with fury to Iain Duncan Smith’s latest back of the envelope scheme to bully people dependent on drugs or alcohol off benefits.  IDS plans to use Jobcentre workers to assess (over a computer) whether someone has a drug and alcohol dependency and then send them to a non-existent treatment centre or face having benefits stopped.

Like Universal Credit, another of the Secretary of State’s crazy schemes, this won’t work and will no doubt unravel in it’s implementation – if it is ever actually implemented at all.

Speaking in the Guardian yesterday, Simon Antrobus, the chief executive of Addaction , one of the largest specialist drug and alcohol treatment charities, condemned the plans saying:

“Those that Addaction help on a daily basis will tell you how coming off drugs or alcohol is extremely difficult, and how deciding to access treatment took them a very long time. Remove financial stability during that time, and you can severely damage someone’s chances of beating an addiction and recovering.

“The jobcentre could prove to be an excellent referral to that kind of support, without resorting to measures that could only add to a person’s problems.”

These are fine words and it’s about time that charities tasked with dealing with some of the poorest and most vulnerable in society finally spoke up for their users.  Unfortunately it also reveals Addaction to be breath-taking hypocrites.

Addaction are one of the sub-contractors on the Government’s Work Programme which is currently failing miserably at getting the long term unemployed into work.  Addaction have been brought in to work with those with drug or alcohol dependencies and seem very proud of their involvement.

After a love in at last year’s Tory Party Conference where Addaction hosted a fringe event, the charity said on their website:

“That’s why we need to show primary contractors in the Work Programme that organisations like Addaction are very much part of the solution.”

Drug and alcohol users who are referred to Work Programme face benefit sanctions for non-attendance.  They can be mandated to do almost anything, including attend treatment or counselling for substance misuse.  Both unemployed people and most of those on sickness and disability benefits are subject to this regime.  If the claimant fails to turn up it is Addaction’s contractual duty to raise a ‘compliance doubt’ with the prime contractors who will then process a benefit sanction.  Addaction are as complicit in sanctioning those with drug and alcohol problems as any Jobcentre worker will be should Iain Duncan’s Smith latest plans come to fruition.

Perhaps Addaction only object to benefit sanctions for those with drug and alcohol problems when they aren’t making a buck out of it.

Above cartoon from: http://www.crippencartoons.co.uk/

11 responses to “Drug Charity Addaction’s Actions Don’t Match Their Words

  1. Eric Greenwood

    Very Interesting.. And rather two faced.. The scariest phrase is “They can be mandated to do almost anything, including attend treatment or counselling for substance misuse.”.. what about choice, as others have said you cannot force a person to change to get treatment.. but Isnt that what Addaction doing?

  2. I thought last year they could not sink any lower but today realise it is a sliding scale of illegal cleansing……….

  3. IDS and his ridiculous policies would drive you to drink,oops,now I’m in trouble,still,it is no laughing matter to his unfortunate victims who have been demonised by this psychotic reprobate.Addaction are little better either.

  4. On some politics show on TV last night, Michael Pitillo was asked, “where are people supposed to go for treatment?”. He ignorantly replied, “Well, to whatever statutory services are available”. I currently know of a 21 year old woman with an alcohol addiction who took the first step by going to a drop-in at the ONLY state-funded substance use service in her entire inner city London borough. She had a lengthy assessment, after which she was advised to keep on drinking every day because it could be physically dangerous to just stop. They told her they would call her to make another appointment. In fact, she would probably never have heard from the service again, if it wasn’t for the fact that I kept phoning them demanding to know what was going on. When I eventually got to speak to someone months later, I was told they hadn’t called her because when they’d tried to help her in the past, she didn’t want to know. Me (somehow managing to stay calm): “That was then, this is now. What can you offer her?”. Them: “er…nothing”. Me (no longer calm): “Are you seriously telling me you cannot refer her to detox or rehab? Her GP said you can do that”. Them: “We might be able to but she will need to come back for a few more assessments. It all depends on making a case to get the funding”. When this vile government decides to take away this woman’s ESA, does it also plan to increase the funding available for treatment programmes (which are known to have high relapse rates)? I don’t think so somehow. And whatever people think of AA, at least it’s always there, you don’t have to be rich to use it, and you’re highly likely to encounter people who know a thing or two about addiction.

    • I think you are getting a bit confused between an agency’s willingness to help and the funding available to provide what the service user and their friends and family say they want.

      Another issue is that if you want to get support from a publicly-funded service there is a reasonable expectation that you will participate in the attempts of that service to help you. Simply demanding expensive residential treatment over and over again when it hasn’t worked in the past and then condemning that service for not providing it is not reasonable.

      AA and NA are great and save lives, no question. However it is popular amongst their enthusiastic members to dismiss other treatment avenues and to claim the credit when a member achieves some degree of recovery, ignoring all of the good and often thankless work that has been done until that point.

      • As a former member of AA, I certainly agree with the point about their disdain for other approacbes , after 2.5 years with AA, I got fed up of the ‘ ‘same ol stories from ol timers’, I left, gone back to education, now do Celebrate Recovery instead and my recovery has accelerated beyond anything AA offers.
        The issue with Addaction, they see themselves as a business first and foremost, some of my former UNISON colleagues had dealings with their CEO in 2007 when negotianing a TUPE, Addiction tried every trick in the book to try wriggle out of their legal responsibility.
        Thankfully they lost the contract to provide Drug and alcohol services across Lancashire…

  5. Pingback: Workfare Isn’t Working So Grayling Plans More Workfare – This Time It’s For Charity | the void

  6. It is perfect time to make some plans for the long run and it is time to be happy. I’ve learn this submit and if I may I want to recommend you few interesting issues or suggestions. Maybe you could write subsequent articles referring to this article. I wish to read even more things about it!

  7. Im ‘involved’ with these bastards at present and a bigger bunch of duplicitous liers iv never known. They say one thing then back track and claim ignorance, say they’ve told you something when they haven’t, lost files with a 10 year history, told doctors are from NHS but if you ring they know nothing about it. Im being persecuted for asking honest questions.

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