DRUG USE AMONG BENEFIT CLAIMANTS DWARFS TREATMENT CAPACITY - WILLOTT

June 22, 2009 12:00 AM

New figures uncovered by Jenny Willott MP, Liberal Democrat Cabinet Office Spokesperson, shows that 350,000 working-age benefit claimants are using heroine or cocaine while there are fewer than

The figures, revealed in a Parliamentary Question from Miss Willott, show three-quarters of all cocaine and heroin users are claiming benefits.

Liberal Democrat Shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, Jenny Willott said:

"These figures show that the Government's new policy of ensuring all drug addicts receive treatment before they can claim benefits is pie in the sky.

"You can only help people off serious drugs if you have the places available to treat them. With less than half the necessary capacity, ministers must urgently explain how they expect their plan to work.

"The Government's obsession with sounding tough has led them to an unworkable policy, which would leave NHS drug treatment programmes completely swamped.

"The Government has allowed the scourge of drug and alcohol addiction to fester in our benefits system for too long. We need a major expansion of drug and alcohol treatment centres so that we can finally start to help those who desperately need it."

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