COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Charities aim to dispel drug treatment myths

Six charities joined forces last week for a campaign to tackle negative attitudes towards drug treatment in England.

The Treatment Works campaign was launched in response to a Government-funded report which discovered one in three people in England do not understand what treatment for drug addiction actually involves.

The Government aims to get 200,000 more people a year into rehabilitation, and the campaign aims to support its goal by dispelling street myths about treatment being ineffective, and encouraging drug users to seek help.

The European Association of Treatment and Addiction, the umbrella body of the independent drug and alcohol treatment sector, will co-ordinate the initiative. It is supported by Addaction, Compass, Cranstoun Drug Services, Phoenix House, Turning Point and RAPT, which all deal with substance abuse and socially related issues.

Victor Adebowale, chief executive of Turning Point, said: "We want to make treatment as fashionable as the drugs we are working against."

The campaign aims to educate professionals in related areas as well as drug users. It will pass on information through leaflets, which will be delivered to surgeries and pharmacies around the country, and through a website at www.treatmentworks.co.uk

The association's report found that 95 per cent of people surveyed supported treatment centres as a way of dealing with drug problems, but local residents often feared that such places would encourage substance abuse and related crime.

Ian Robinson, chief executive of the association, was concerned by the 'not-in-my-backyard' attitude to drug rehabilitation. "We generally find there is a small but vocal percentage of communities which are against us. To get 95 per cent of people supporting us is extremely positive."

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